While vacationing onboard the Carnival cruise ship Valor during May of 2008, a medical emergency occurred on the ship. One of the passengers became seriously ill, and required transportation back to a Florida hospital. On Monday, May 26th, the Valor turned around, and headed towards Tampa to meet a Coast Guard helicopter that would transport the ill passenger.
A helicopter and rescue crew came alongside the ship, and began transporting the person in need. I witnessed the transfer of the Coast Guard rescue swimmer to the deck, and the subsequent transfer of the sick person, and his family member, all while we were traveling at 18 knots. The helicopter maintained speed and altitude and stayed alongside us for the duration of the rescue. The rescue took about 45 minutes.
I was so moved by their care and precision as they moved this person in need from our vessel to their helicopter. I have never been more proud to be a part of what we do here at the Coast Guard Foundation. Witnessing this rescue at sea was one of the most incredible experiences of my life.