Injured person on sailboat rescued

Posted Nov. 08, 2009, at 11:33 p.m.

BELFAST, Maine — A Coast Guard rescue helicopter was called in Sunday to airlift an injured person from a sailboat near Matinicus Island.

The sailboat Sheila apparently was headed to Nova Scotia when a crew member suffered a possible spinal injury. The U.S. Coast Guard launched a 47-foot boat from Rockland Station and the 87-foot cutter Moray from Jonesport to meet the sailboat and escort it to a more sheltered location.

Coast Guard crews stabilized the patient before transferring the person to the 47-foot boat, according to a spokesman. An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod then hoisted the injured crew member from the boat and flew the patient to Rockland where paramedics took the person to Penobscot Bay Medical Center in Rockport.

The Coast Guard was not releasing any additional information Sunday afternoon about the identity of the injured person or the home port of the 27-foot sailboat.

Winds reportedly were gusting to 20 mph with seas of 4 to 6 feet at the time of the hoist.

“Weather conditions were certainly a factor in this case,” Paul Conner, a search and rescue controller at Coast Guard Sector Northern New England, said in a statement. “Rescue crews worked to stabilize the patient in the rough conditions by escorting the sailboat to an area more sheltered from the weather, to allow for a safer hoist.”

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