Medevac Ruby PrincessThe Defense Imagery Distribution System (DVIDS) reports that the U.S Coast Guard medevaced a 47 year old crew member from the Ruby Princess early this morning.

The air medevac took place when the Princess Cruises cruise ship was approximately 9 miles southwest of Point Loma, San Diego.

The Ruby Princess contacted the Coast Guard in San Diego late last night (at approximately 11:35 P.M.), reporting that a Princess crew member was experiencing symptoms of a heart attack.

The Coast Guard deployed a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter at approximately 1 A.M. The helicopter then hoisted the man onto the helicopter at approximately 2:05 A.M. The crew member was then transferred to an ambulance once the helicopter returned to its base in San Diego and taken to a local hospital.

Video Credit: Defense Video Imagery Distribution System


  • Jo Jo

    It is unknown if it is because the Coast Guard is now a component of DHS and their priorities have changed, but, based on the overly long and drawn-out conversation between the Ruby Princess and Coast Guard Sector San Diego, the medical evacuation by helicopter of the patient referenced in the news story almost did not occur, and sadly the patient’s hospital treatment was unnecessarily delayed by the Coast Guard’s initial refusal to act.

    Late Friday evening, the cruise ship Ruby Princess contacted Coast Guard Sector San Diego on Channel 16 and reported that they had a person on board who was experiencing the symptoms of a Myocardial Infarction (heart attack), and they requested helicopter medical evacuation of the patient. The ship was off the coast of San Diego, enroute to Mexico. The radio operator from Coast Guard Sector San Diego requested some information from the ship and told them to stand by for further instructions.

    Several minutes later, the radio operator from Coast Guard Sector San Diego reported that after consulting with their flight surgeon, they would not be launching their helicopter as the flight surgeon did not consider the patient’s condition serious enough; however, the Ruby Princess’ medical personnel disagreed, and a long bit of conversation back and forth between Sector San Diego and the ship’s medical provider began. All the time this was transpiring the ship continued to steam further away from San Diego.

    At one point, Sector San Diego advised the ship that once it arrived in Mexican waters, that the Coast Guard would not help them at all, and they would need to contact Mexico for assistance unless they were willing to turn the ship around and set course for San Diego. The ship then asked if Sector San Diego was unwilling to send a helicopter, would they be willing to send a Coast Guard boat to evacuate the patient. Again, the radio operator from Sector San Diego requested that Ruby Princess stand by. Several minutes later, Sector San Diego asked if Ruby Princess could send the heart attack victim, and a medical provider, towards San Diego on their own boat to rendezvous with a Coast Guard boat mid-way from the ship’s position and San Diego. The ship advised that, if required, they would.

    What followed were several more minutes of more time wasting by the Coast Guard, until, finally, as the Ruby Princess was preparing the victim for an unpleasant and dangerous nighttime medical evacuation by small boat, the radio operator from Coast Guard Sector San Diego advised the Ruby Princess, that, upon further discussion, the D-11 Command Center had decided that the safest thing to do would be to send the helicopter to evacuate the patient, but, the Sector San Diego radio operator emphasized, the ship would need to be in US waters or the helicopter would not evacuate the patient. The Sector San Diego radio operator also emphasized that the victim would need his passport as well.

    As a mariner, I have listened to the Coast Guard for many years, and in all that time I have never monitored anything remotely close to what transpired on Friday evening. Please don’t get me wrong, I am a big supporter of the Coast Guard…at least I was of the pre-DHS Coast Guard; however, in my opinion, the above performance by the Coast Guard is bordering on negligent and completely UNSAT.

  • Linda Conn

    I was on this cruise. We (passengers) were made aware of something going on, at, about, 0200 when the Captain making a PA announcement to us, waking the entire ship and ordering us to remain in our rooms-unless evacuated, off of our balconies, “no flash photography” allowed. That was the only announcement we heard. We noticed that the room stewards were removing all the balcony furniture from the room next to ours (R501) and the biggest thing we discovered was that we suddenly could see city lights on the shore–we were on the starboard side of the ship, that was supposed to be traveling south bound—(ocean view). We were afraid that perhaps it could be a terrorist attack. Then we considered that we would, by that time, in Mexican waters and maybe it was Federales…we had no idea what was happening. We quickly dressed, just in case we were ordered out of our room, and sat tight…We never heard the helicopter, but our rooms are very well insulated. In a short time (that seemed like an eternity) the announcement was made by the Captain that they apologized for any inconvenience and we could return to normal operation. We did not discover what had occurred until we questioned a few of the employees and they relayed whatever information they felt they could tell us. Some of the guarded information we got was that it was a cook, taken by helicopter to San Diego via helicopter. The balconies were cleared so the furniture would not be blown overboard by the helicopter and a row of certain numbered rooms were evacuated (for unknown reasons). That was all we were told.