Sunday, November 18, 2018

Rescue at sea

The sun trying to break through the clouds spotlighted an emergency and the intensity and urgency of an air lift at sea on board our cruise ship. This photo evokes feelings of hopefulness as well as hopelessness. 

Early in the morning there was an emergency call for a critically ill passenger. Rumors abounded, but the consensus was an elderly man had a massive heart attack about 6:30 a.m. A doctor, three doors down heard the man's wife screaming for help and assisted.

 As you can tell by the angle of the sun, it was about 1:30 p.m. when the helicopter finally arrived. Out of respect for the family, the captain asked no videos be taken. But there was a crowd of onlookers (including us) who did capture cell phone images. We were one deck below, close enough to witness the difficulties and frustration of trying to land in gale force winds. A half hour we listened to witness's comments, "That aircraft is fuel sensitive, they won't have enough to make it to shore." "Watch out if it crashes; shrapnel will fly."

I stood shoulder to shoulder with passengers in solemn silence. I watched and prayed as the chopper bounced on air currents, swayed left and right. Unable to hover, the pilot had to circle the ship time and again.

 I prayed, "Lord, you command the winds and seas, please help this rescue mission, and if it's thy will be done, allow this person to survive."

After many attempts, the ship's captain cut the engines and steered the ship as close as possible under the hovering chopper. Medical personnel dangled from a cable and made their way on board. Minutes ticked endlessly, and then a stretcher was lowered. Finally, the patient and medical team were airlifted. Out of respect, I did not photograph that part.

As the chopper zoomed off, a collective sigh, cheers, and rousing applause rang out. The doctor leaned out of the chopper and gave a thumbs up.

Even though I look elated to be on the beach, days later I was still concerned for the patient and family. The images and incident haunted me. I can only imagine how those with PTSD suffer from flashbacks.

My honey looks pensive as our cruise comes to a close. We enjoy gazing into the ruffled tail spray at the back of the ship.

Sun rises on the horizon streaming brilliant streaks of sunshine on the Caribbean turquoise blue (which you cannot see here)...  and the promise of a new day.

Make the most of yours! Nobody is promised tomorrow.


Pat Wahler said...

What a scary experience! I hope the man was able to overcome what happened.

Your pictures are spectacular. Makes me ready for a vacation!

Val said...

That is indeed an experience that will stay with you for a while. At least we have the technology for the rescue.

Good pictures, as usual. The only big boats I've been on are (of course) the Casino Queen, back when it used to cruise the Mississippi every two hours, and an Alaskan ferry up the Inside Passage from Ketchikan to Juno.

Tanza Erlambang - Every Day Issues said...

scary event...
have a great day

Susan said...

Oh gosh, Linda. What an experience. Wonder if the fella survived. God bless him. Susan

Connie said...

Sounds like it was a traumatic day. I hope the man came through it ok. That kind of a scare stays in your memory.

Sioux Roslawski said...

Linda--What an incredible thing you witnessed. A cruise is an incredible experience all by itself. That event just added even more excitement and--it sounds like--resulted in you remembering that life is fleeting... savor it.

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

A sobering incident, Linda, for certain. Sharing it here is a strong reminder that we should all be grateful for every moment with which we're gifted.