The US Coast Guard hoisted a badly burned victim to safety after a fire broke out on a cargo ship Saturday. NBC 7 s Lea Sutton talks to flight mechanic Jason Weeks about the rescue.
A helicopter crew from U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Diego rescued a burn victim from a cargo ship Satuday afternoon, officials confirmed.
The rescue happened about 30 miles west of San Diego’s coast.
A fire had sparked aboard the Motor Vessel Jupiter cargo ship around 1 p.m. and a 55-year-old crewman sustained burns to more than 50 percent of his body, USCG officials said.
Upon hearing this, the Coast Guard launched an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter to assist the victim. The aircrew was able to successfully hoist the man onto their helicopter.
The aircrew arrived at Sector San Diego with the burn victim just before 4 p.m. He was then transported to UCSD Medical Center for treatment.
USCG officials said no other injuries were reported aboard Jupiter.
The entire rescue was caught on tape by the MH-60 helicopter’s hoist camera.
NBC 7 San Diego spoke with Jason Weeks, a USCG flight mechanic aboard the helicopter who helped in the rescue. He said the difficult rescue required much focus and precision.
“We were conducting the hoist from about 130 feet, so getting that rescue device from a small 10- by-10-square-foot area did require a lot of precision,” explained Weeks.
Weeks said every Coast Guard rescue is different, each with its own unique set of challenges. He gave some insight as to how they executed this particular rescue mission successfully.
"The Coast Guard has several ways they can save someone in this situation. What they use depends on the scenario. The rescue basket, we have the rescue litter which is tucked away over there and then we have a couple of slings we can use to hoist our survivors up,” said Weeks.
Weeks said they used the litter to keep the victim stabilized. Once on the scene, they lowered the rescue swimmer who treated the victim's third-degree burns before sending him up the hoist.
“[The victim] was definitely in a lot of pain, in a lot of discomfort and you could tell he was pretty shaken up. We pulled him in feet first and we pulled him in all the way forward,” Weeks recalled.
Weeks said the rescue was all in a day’s work for his Coast Guard crew.
"We go down there, we do what we need to do, and we do our best to get the victim or survivor to safety.”
The burn victim’s identity has not been released. His current condition is unknown.