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SWCCs Respond to Mayday Call at Sea

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS071010-25
Release Date: 10/10/2007 4:40:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Robyn B. Gerstenslager, Naval Special Warfare Group 4 Public Affairs

TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (NNS) -- Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen (SWCC) assigned to Special Boat Team (SBT) 20 in Little Creek, Va. responded to a mayday call Sept. 28 as they returned from Key West, Fla. The SWCCs were operating small boats off the coast of Key West on a training mission.

At approximately 1 p.m., 35 miles east of St. Catherine’s Sound, Ga., Chief Special Boat Operator Michael Mackeown, the officer in charge aboard the small craft they had been training on, the SEALION II (SEAL Insertion Observation Neutralization), heard repeated calls from a civilian boat attempting to contact the U.S. Coast Guard on marine-band radio.

When the civilian caller made contact with the Coast Guard he put in a mayday call. Mackeown immediately contacted the civilian crew himself and notified them that he was within two miles of their location and asked if he could offer any assistance. Within 10 minutes, the crew reached the distressed boaters and launched a Zodiac, a 14-foot inflatable boat, with two SWCC emergency medical technicians (EMT) on board.

Once they boarded the boat, which had been chartered for a day of fishing, the EMTs found a man lying face down in the back of the boat.

“He was not seizing,” said Mackeown, “but he was still unconscious.”

A family friend informed the EMTs that the man had a history of seizures.

Special Boat Operator 1st Class Anthony Williamson, the chief engineer and an EMT, reverted back to his CPR training once he reached the scene.

“I was ready to do CPR if he was down,” said Williamson. “You don’t panic; be calm, you follow your procedures.”

The EMTs brought the man onto the Navy vessel to recover and to transport him to the nearest Coast Guard station on Tybee Island, he regained consciousness as he was being moved.

Williamson and the crew gave the man water and a cool place to rest as they asked him basic questions to make sure his neurological system was functioning normally.

Upon nearing the station, a Coast Guard patrol boat took the man to shore where the local emergency response team’s ambulance was waiting.

Mackeown was pleased with how smoothly his crew handled the situation; within a little more than an hour of the first mayday call the man was on shore and on his way to a local hospital.

“[The crew] performed outstandingly,” said Mackeown. “Everyone worked together and did the job; everyone stayed calm and did what was needed.”

The man was taken to Memorial Health University Center in Savannah, Ga. where he was treated and released.

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