CARIBBEAN SEA (June 26, 2012) U.S. Navy Search and Rescue swimmers assigned to USS Elrod (FFG 55) pull one of four survivors aboard their rigid-hulled inflatable boat during search and rescue efforts in the Caribbean.
USS ELROD, At Sea (NNS) -- Norfolk, Va.-based frigate USS Elrod (FFG 55) rescued four people from a sinking small boat June 26 while on patrol in the Caribbean Sea in support of Operation Martillo.
Elrod received a call from a maritime patrol aircraft after spotting the submerged vessel. The ship made best speed to the reported site to investigate and located four survivors in distress. The mariners were clinging onto the bow of the damaged boat when Elrod made its approach.
A rigid-hulled inflatable boat (RHIB) was lowered to pick up the stranded survivors. One of the four survivors lapsed in and out of consciousness and Chief Hospital Corpsman Cory Perry diagnosed their condition as life-threatening and in desperate need of immediate medical treatment.
"We came at the right time," said Cmdr. Jack Killman, Elrod Commanding Officer. "I am not sure these people would have lasted much longer."
The survivors were flown to a hospital in Colombia via helo from Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 60.
"It was a huge success and personally rewarding being able to bring them to a medical facility where they'll get the proper care they need," said Lt. Justin Collins, air crew commander for the medevac flight.
"All in all, team Elrod did a remarkable job; from watch standers reacting at a moment's notice, to coordinating a medevac transfer to Colombia," said Killman.
The team effort by the crew of Elrod succeeded in saving the lives of the distressed mariners.
"This particular situation required careful yet nuanced care, to reduce the destructive effects of prolonged exposure to and ingestion of sea water without triggering negative consequences. These gentlemen were lucky to have an experienced corpsman on scene to care for them," Capt. Christine Dorr, U.S Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet medical officer said.
Elrod is currently conducting counter transnational organized crime operations as part of
Operation Martillo targeting illicit trafficking routes in coastal waters along the Central American isthmus. U.S. military participation is being led by Joint Interagency Task Force-South, a component of U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM). Operation Martillo is a component of the U.S. government's coordinated interagency regional security strategy in support of the White House strategy to combat transnational organized crime and the U.S. Central America Regional Security Initiative.
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet (COMUSNAVSO/C4F) supports USSOUTHCOM joint and combined full-spectrum military operations by providing principally sea-based, forward presence to ensure freedom of maneuver in the maritime domain, to foster and sustain cooperative relationships with international partners and to fully exploit the sea as maneuver space in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.