Coast Guard rescues Italian crewman after 75-foot fall

nherz@adn.comSeptember 12, 2013 

The U.S. Coast Guard said it rescued an Italian crew member from a freighter Wednesday night after he was injured in a 75-foot fall from the vessel's exhaust stack.

The man was picked up by helicopter 117 miles from Adak, in the Aleutian Islands, and transferred to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage, the Coast Guard said.

After the Coast Guard received a call about the accident early Wednesday morning from the 738-foot freighter Cinzia D'Amato, a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and HC-130 Hercules plane took off from Kodiak, said Petty Officer Jonathan Klingenberg.

The plane carried multiple crews to swap in and out of the helicopter to allow for adequate rest, given that Adak is just over 1,000 miles from Kodiak, Klingenberg said. The aircraft stopped along the way at Cold Bay, Klingenberg added, where the Coast Guard maintains a forward operating base during fishing season. It stopped again at Adak before picking up the injured crewman, Klingenberg said.

The Coast Guard reported 28 to 46 mph winds, 16-foot seas, and rain near Adak.

"It's bad weather," Klingenberg said, but he added that "our Coast Guard helicopter crews are well-trained for these kinds of situations."

He said the man had suffered broken bones and was bleeding internally, but could provide no additional details about the injuries.

Reach Nathaniel Herz at nherz@adn.com or 257-4311.

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