106th Rescue Wing Airdrops Medical Supplies to Burn Victim in Atlantic

106th Rescue Wing photo of The sailboat Namah as seen from the HC-130J Combat King II on May 20, 2022
The sailboat Namah as seen from the HC-130J Combat King II on May 20, 2022 (106th Rescue Wing photo)

The Westhampton Beach-based New York Air National Guard 106th Rescue Wing flew emergency medical supplies out to a sailboat 1,200 miles off the coast of Long Island on Friday, May 20.

A day prior, the Coast Guard Rescue Coordination Center located in Boston received a report that a 23-year-old woman on the boat had suffered second and third-degree burns on her abdomen and leg from boiling water, officials said. But the victim and two men on the boat only spoke Spanish, there was no locator on the boat, and the position of the boat was 12 hours old, which made it extremely difficult to find.

Once the boat was tracked down, the aircrew made contact and Senior Airman Jocelyn Tapia-Puma, who speaks fluent Spanish, volunteered to be the interpreter for the mission.

Three hours after flying out of F.S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base, the medical bundles were successfully delivered to the sailboat by airdrop. The bundles included the correct medical supplies for the woman along with directions for treatment.

Ever since, the crew has been in email contact with the Rescue Coordination Center and providing updates every 6-8 hours. They are en-route to the Azores, an archipelago off the cast of Portugal, and are expected to arrive on June 3.

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