Erik Larsen, @Erik_Larsen
POINT PLEASANT BEACH – A diver believed to be suffering from decompression sickness was airlifted to Philadelphia by the Coast Guard on Saturday.
The man, who was not identified, was aboard the 35-foot fishing boat Bluefin about 30 minutes after a dive 15 miles offshore, according to the Coast Guard in a prepared statement.
A crew from a 29-foot response boat was deployed from Coast Guard Station Manasquan Inlet. Upon arrival, the vessel escorted the Bluefin back to the Coast Guard station. Shortly thereafter, EMS first responders prepared the victim for transfer to a Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter. The aircraft landed on the campus of the Harold G. Antrim Elementary School in Point Pleasant Beach, all according to the statement.
The Coast Guard dispatched the helicopter from Air Station Atlantic City to transport the man by air to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, according to the statement.
“This is a good example of how having a working VHF marine radio aboard your boat can allow rescuers to get on-scene quickly,” said Chief Petty Officer Kyle Gerkens in the written statement. “Having a means to communicate allowed these divers to direct the Coast Guard quickly to their location, and that allowed us to quickly coordinate the medevac between EMS and the Coast Guard air crew.”
Decompression sickness, which is also called "the bends," occurs in the human body during a sudden or rapid transition from the kind of high-pressure environment found under the sea to the lower air pressure above water. The illness occurs because normal gases found in the body do not have time to diffuse as the pressure rapidly changes and this can cause bubbles to form inside human tissue.
Erik Larsen: 732-682-9359 or email@example.com