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Coast Guard rescues man from research vessel 250 miles north of Barrow

Laurel Andrews

The U.S. Coast Guard medevacked a man suffering from a head injury from a South Korean research vessel 250 miles north of Barrow on Wednesday, according to a press release.

The South Korean research icebreaker Aaron called in to the Coast Guard on Tuesday afternoon reporting that one of its crew members had suffered a head injury related to a weightlifting accident, said Petty Officer 2nd Class Grant DeVuyst.

The vessel was 470 miles north of Barrow when the call came in, DeVuyst said. It traveled south for nearly a day to get within range of Coast Guard helicopters.

On Wednesday afternoon, two MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crews flew 250 miles north of Barrow to rendezvous with the vessel. Their flight to the vessel took around 90 minutes, DeVuyst said.

The helicopters, which had just deployed to Barrow last week, safely hoisted the 43-year-old man from the vessel and flew him to emergency medical personnel in of Barrow.

Maritime activity in the Arctic continues to increase as sea ice recedes, prompting the Coast Guard to launch its Arctic Shield initiative aimed at increasing its presence in the Arctic. There is no permanent Coast Guard station in Barrow, but resources are deployed during summer months. “This emergency situation highlights the importance of having a Coast Guard forward operating location in the region,” Capt. Joseph Deer, chief of incident management for the Coast Guard’s 17th District, said in a press release Thursday morning.

Watch a short video of the rescue: