On United States national election day (see video below), Tuesday, November 7, 2017, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s Grandeur of the Seas was returning to Baltimore, Maryland and was located about 600 miles off the coast of Florida after a Caribbean cruise.
The 920th Rescue Wing was notified around 1030 hours that a sick male cruise ship passenger with appendicitis, needed an emergency evacuation.
The rescue team of Guardian Angel Airmen arrived with two HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters and two HC-130 aerial refueling aircraft. The team exchanged fuel mid-air several times to pull off their long-range rescue .
The 920th Rescue Wing is part of the Air Reserve Component of the United States Air Force. The wing is assigned to the Tenth Air Force of the Air Force Reserve Command at Patrick Air Force Base. Patrick Air Force Base is a United States Air Force base located between Satellite Beach and Cocoa Beach, in Brevard County, Florida.
Typically, the sea rescues for sick or injured passengers or crew are performed by the United States Coast Guard. However, the long range medevac required mid-air refueling, requiring a higher level of skill and equipment.
The sick passenger was taken to Health First’s Holmes Regional Medical Center in in Melbourne, Florida. His condition is currently unknown.
Grandeur of the Seas embarked from Baltimore, Maryland on Saturday October 28, 2017 for a twelve-night Caribbean cruise. The cruise ship called at St.Thomas, St. Johns, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and St Maarten before returning to Baltimore on Thursday, November 9.
Video: Aerial Refueling Of Combat Search & Rescue Helicopters – US Military