Maryland State Police Helicopter Crew Hoists Patient from Grandeur of The Seas in Chesapeake Bay
TANGIER ISLAND, Va. — A Maryland State Police helicopter crew combined their expertise with the abilities of their aircraft on Aug. 8, 2015 to successfully hoist a person needing prompt hospital care from the Royal Caribbean Grandeur of The Seas which was underway in the southern section of the Chesapeake Bay on its way back to Baltimore, its home port.
Shortly before 9:30 p.m., the United States Coast Guard – Sector Baltimore was notified by Royal Caribbean Cruise Line that they had a passenger requiring immediate medical evacuation. Sector Baltimore requested the assistance of the Maryland State Police Aviation Command to perform an aerial hoist from the Grandeur of the Seas to provide medical care to one of their passengers and transport the man to the nearest hospital. The Grandeur of the Seas was located in the Chesapeake Bay approximately 10 miles southwest of Tangier Island and was traveling at approximately 6.2 knots. The Coast Guard requested Maryland State Police Aviation Command helicopter assistance because Trooper 7, stationed at St. Mary’s County Airport, was the closest aircraft to the ship.
The crew of Trooper 7 launched immediately and headed toward Tangier Island. When they arrived over the ship, the helicopter crew communicated with the crew of the Grandeur of the Seas who advised they were preparing the upper deck starboard side to use as the hoisting area.
The crew from Trooper 7 prepared for a challenging hoist using the advanced technology aboard the AW-139 aircraft. While working with the crew of Grandeur of the Seas, the flight crew began the process of hoisting the patient from the ship.
When the patient was secured in the aircraft, the State Police flight crew provided advanced medical care and flew an adult male patient needing cardiac care to Peninsula Regional Medical Center.
State Police Aviation Command crews have conducted several hoists of patients off cargo ships, but they believe this is the first hoist of a patient from a cruise ship.
The Maryland State Police Aviation Command has served Maryland citizens since 1970, and operates a fleet of ten helicopters from seven bases throughout Maryland on a 24/7/365 basis. Missions include medevac, law enforcement, search & rescue, homeland security, and disaster assessment.
The success of rescues performed by the Aviation Command depends a great deal on the cooperative effort of local fire, rescue, EMS, law enforcement agencies, and our partners in the United States Coast Guard.
The Grandeur of The Seas is one of two cruise ships berthed in Baltimore. The Carnival Pride also operates from Baltimore with both lines sending passengers out to the Caribbean, New England, the Bahamas and Bermuda. Other cruise lines make occasional stops in Baltimore.
The time to travel from the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay to the Maryland Cruise terminal is about nine hours. Thus the ship typically docks about 7 am in Baltimore. The importance of hoisting a seriously ill patient from a commercial freighter, pleasure craft or a cruise ship in a timely fashion can mean the difference between life and death.
A proposal to build a cruise ship terminal in Solomon’s, on the Patuxent River in Calvert County, would cut at least seven hours off the trip to Baltimore after entering the Bay. Larger ships that dominate the typical fleet of the world’s cruise lines cannot enter the Baltimore harbor due to the height restriction under the Francis Scott Key Bridge.
While several cruise lines offer port calls in Norfolk none of them take on passengers during those stops.
Carnival has limited service in 2015 with three sailings in October.
Sailings from Norfolk
Date Ship Cruise Line Itinerary
Oct 12, 2015 Carnival Splendor Carnival 5 Day Bahamas
Oct 17, 2015 Carnival Splendor Carnival 6-Day Bahamas
Oct 23, 2015 Carnival Splendor Carnival 7-Night Bermuda