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May 21, 2012 / rafinmd

Evacuation at sea

At 2pm May 21 the bellyflop contest was just ending on the Enchantment of the Seas between Bermuda and Boston when the Cruise Director announced there had been a medical emergency and we would need to clear the decks later in the afternoon for a patient evacuation by helicopter.
The process of clearing the deck soon began and at 2:20 I headed for the Viking Crown Lounge. Deck 10 had already been closed off from entry and as the ice sculpture demonstration ended that deck 9 was also closed off. At 3PM the Captain came on the PA system and announced that the ETA of the helicopter was about 1 hour. By that time all guests had been cleared from the outer decks, all furniture had been stowed, and fire suppression teams were putting hose lines in service as a precaution.

The transfer took place on deck 10 port, above the space between the Oasis Bar and Windjammer Private Dining room. The helicopter arrived about 3:50, and dropped a guide cable to the crew stationed below. Then a basket was lowered, with the crew using the guide cable to controll the landing of the basket. The patient was wheeled out from the Adventure Ocean landing and secured in the basket, which was then lifted into the helicopter. The operation ended about 4PM with the helicopter heading back to Massachusetts with the patient, and finally the disassembly of all the precautionary equipment.

Privacy concerns prevail of course, but Keith Williams did seem optimistic in his showtime remarks about the outlook for the patient.

While this is not a regular posting, I will nevertheless conclude with a parting shot. Today’s operation involved the coordinated efforts of a number of people, but it started with the people on the ship. Today cruise ship crews train constantly to assure the safety and well being and today I witnessed the effects of that training. The LEAST we can do in return is to give them 10 minutes of our cooperation and undivided attention at the start of each cruise.



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