It was my final day at sea aboard Carnival Inspiration earlier this week and I was busy shooting a series of editorial pictures of the ship’s new WaterWorks, a sprawling water theme park–like complex that occupies much of the aft deck.
I saw several of the ship’s security guards quietly speaking to guests and watched as the guests packed up their belongings and left the area. I asked one of the guards why they had to depart and he said, “A helicopter is coming to airlift a passenger who needs medical attention.”
One of my table mates who is a registered nurse remarked how comforting it was to know that a serious medical emergency could be handled so professionally hundreds of miles away from land.
After the guests left the area, deckhands arrived and cleared away all the chaise lounges and removed rigging that would normally support the ship’s dress flags. Then fire safety crews deployed on deck near the pickup zone as a precautionary measure.
About 15 minutes before the U.S. Coast Guard helicopter arrived, cruise director Risa made a general announcement to inform guests of what would take place and why: a guest who was experiencing a cardiac emergency was to be airlifted from the ship for medical treatment.
The chopper came and lowered a rescue diver to the deck. By then, the victim was positioned in the shade, close to the pickup area and under the watchful eyes of the ship’s medical staff.
The rescue diver confidently briefed Carnival staff and the victim about how the airlift would be executed.
All was prepared and a transfer basket was lowered. One of the ship’s nurses was the first to go up (left photo) to accompany the patient to a Tampa Bay–area hospital. Next, the patient himself was gently hoisted aboard the big chopper.
Although all of the ship’s passengers had been cleared of the transfer zone, they lined the midship and forward decks (right photo) for a great view of the Coast Guard helicopter’s maneuvers.
After the chopper retrieved the rescue diver off Inspiration, the watching crowd broke out in applause.
The ship’s staff and Coast Guard crew deserved the recognition. The whole exercise was incredibly smooth and extremely professional. And the helicopter pilots demonstrated flying expertise I had never seen previously.
Later that night, in the dining room, one of my table mates who is a registered nurse remarked how comforting it was to know that a serious medical emergency could be handled so professionally hundreds of miles away from land.
I completely agreed with her.