MARIGOT: The SNSM of Saint Martin was requested last Saturday evening at 6:55 p.m. by the CROSS-AG (Regional Operational Center for Rescue and Salvage of the Antilles-Guyana) to rescue a catamaran whose captain suddenly lost consciousness.
The captain-owner of a 51-foot catamaran en route from the Virgin Islands to Saint Martin was the victim of a fainting spell. He suddenly collapsed while in the cockpit. In his fall, his head hit the deck and he lost consciousness.
His companion, the only other person on board, called for help on VHF channel 16, and CROSS-AG first transmitted a “Mayday Relay” to find out if there were any vessels in the vicinity that assist. The CROSS-AG finally sent the SNSM of Saint Martin to meet the catamaran located 18 nautical miles to the northwest of Saint Martin.
The crew, composed of 8 volunteers, prepared the SNS 129 Notre-Dame de la Garoupe, the only boat available (the Rescue Star, a semi-rigid boat, was out of service due to repairs on the starboard bladder), which set sail at 7:30 p.m. A doctor, a fireman and an ambulance driver were among the volunteers, and CROSS-AG gave the green light to go to the area, without waiting for an additional medical team from SAMU.
Forty-five minutes later, the SNS 129 was on site. The latter approached the catamaran on its starboard side, to transfer 4 crew members and their medical equipment.
This maneuver, difficult for two vessels in the middle of the sea, was successfully carried out. Two crew members immediately took care of the victim, while the other two took charge of the boat and continued to head towards Saint Martin.
According to the first information, the captain fell in a very narrow space and received a hit to his head; his companion managed to put him in an LSP (Lateral Safety Position). The captain was still unconscious and breathing with difficulty. He was immediately placed on oxygen and a complete check-up was performed. The “medical” crew members considered that it was too difficult to extract him from his position, as the man weighed more than 120 kg, and transferring him to SNS 129 was considered too risky.
So they all stayed on board the catamaran and made their way as best they could, on a single-engine with a headwind, towards Marigot at an average speed of 7 to 8 knots. While receiving oxygen, the victim regained consciousness quickly and was able to answer some very basic questions.
The SNS 129 headed back to Marigot where it arrived at the dock at 9:30 p.m.; then the crew walked to the ferry terminal to wait for the catamaran to dock at 9:55 p.m. Twenty minutes later, the firefighters were on site and extracted the victim, on a shell mattress, before transferring him to Louis-Constant Fleming Hospital at 10:45 p.m.
The SNSM station of Saint Martin wishes a quick recovery to the victim congratulates his companion for having shown composure by immediately calling the emergency services by radio, then by maintaining the course to Saint Martin, until the arrival of the emergency services, while taking care of her companion, injured and unconscious.