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Video: Coast Guard rescues pregnant woman in Atlantic Ocean

A U.S. Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Timothy M. Black/Released)
April 17, 2024

A viral video shows the United States Coast Guard rescuing a pregnant woman who suffered “health complications” Monday on a Disney Fantasy cruise ship. The pregnant woman was airlifted by the Coast Guard on an MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter.

In a Tuesday press release, the Coast Guard announced, “A Coast Guard MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter aircrew conducted a medevac for a Disney Fantasy cruise ship passenger, Monday, in the Atlantic Ocean 180 miles northwest of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.”

According to the Coast Guard, the aircrew airlifted a 35-year-old pregnant woman who suffered “health complications” and was determined to need a “higher level of medical care” than the medical care available on the cruise ship. While the pregnant woman’s identity was not released, the Coast Guard confirmed that the woman was a U.S. citizen.

The press release explained that Coast Guard watchstanders received the request for medevac assistance while the Disney Fantasy cruise ship was traveling 260 nautical miles from Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. Following the request for assistance, the Coast Guard dispatched a MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter and an HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft from the Coast Guard Air Station in Miami.

“Once on scene, the Coast Guard Jayhawk aircrew deployed their rescue swimmer aboard the cruise ship, who prepared a rescue basket and litter to safely hoist the patient and cruise ship doctor aboard the aircraft,” the Coast Guard stated in the press release.

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After airlifting the 35-year-old woman and the doctor onto the helicopter, the Coast Guard transported the pregnant woman to the Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Local emergency personnel then transported the patient to the Centro Medico Hospital.

“Our crew was able to quickly, safely, and efficiently execute a long-range MEDEVAC for the patient to receive the higher level of care she required,” Lt. Cmdr. Todd Stephens said. “This case demonstrates the value of good crew resource management and the capabilities of our Jayhawk helicopter.”

Ensign Michael Riccio, the Coast Guard unit leader for Monday’s operation, said the “competency” that was displayed by both the Coast Guard crew and the Disney Fantasy crew “made all the difference” in helping the 35-year-old woman receive the medical care she needed. “We are glad everything came together to help this passenger,” Riccio said.

A video of Monday’s Coast Guard operation shows a member of the Coast Guard crew being lowered onto the Disney Fantasy cruise ship, followed by the 35-year-old woman being carefully lifted into the MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter.