Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Rescue at sea!

OK, so this isn't even related to golf!

We were sailing along the coast of Kauai today, and I was taking pictures of the shoreline.  I noticed that we were starting to make a hard turn to port (left) and I wondered if we were making a U-turn to take another pass along the cliffs.  Having taken a ton of pictures already, I started heading back to my room when someone someone made an ominous announcement over the PA.  "Code Alpha to the Medical Center - Code Alpha to the Medical Center."  

That can't be good.

I decided to stay away figuring that someone was clearly very sick and I didn't want to get in the way.  As best as I can piece together, it turns out, that some people had been diving off of a catamaran when a speed boat came by and hit at least one of the divers, seriously injuring him.  The catamaran made a mayday call and our ship responded (hence the hard turn).  The catamaran came alongside and unloaded two injured people and they were treated at our medical center. 

I was standing on the front deck hearing about this from someone who watched the unloading happen about 45 minutes earlier when we saw a helicopter coming in.  The Navy helicopter came alongside the ship, made a few passes and came in behind our smokestacks, hovering about 30 feet off of the upper deck.   The process of unloading someone from the helicopter, picking up two injured people in a stretcher and a basket, then retrieving the crewman and what looked like someone from the crew of our ship took about 25 minutes.   Hats off to the crew of the helicopter who did an amazing job of hovering over the deck for that long while rescuing the injured people and to the crew of the Pride of Aloha for responding to these people in distress, treating them and getting them safely aboard the helicopter.  A very impressive show.

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