Image from USCG Air Station Elizabeth City

VIDEO: Cargo Ship Engine Explosion Prompts Rescue

When an explosion in the engine room of a cargo ship burned a crew member and disabled the vessel, getting help was no small feat. That’s because the ship was 275 miles off the coast of Ocean City when it happened Thursday night.

The Coast Guard responded to medevac the burn victim from the cargo ship Laura Maersk. But the ship was so far from shore that the Coast Guard’s MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter couldn’t make it there without refueling. So the Coast Guard Fifth District coordinated with the U.S. Fleet Forces Command to have the helicopter land on the Navy destroyer USS Mahan for refueling on its way to Laura Maersk.

The aircrew was able to hoist the injured crew member onto the helicopter and take him to Norfolk Sentara General Hospital in Norfolk. Coast Guard video shows the helicopter lift off from the Navy’s 500-foot-long destroyer, then approach the container ship and airlift the patient. Watch below:

The Coast Guard says a plan is still being worked out to salvage the disabled cargo ship, stacked high with containers.

“U.S. Fleet Forces Command and the USS Mahan were instrumental in getting this crewmember help as soon as possible,” said Lt. David Steele, command duty officer during the case “This case highlights how good communications in a highly complex situation allows us to work together seamlessly to help those in need.”

Meg Walburn Viviano