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Long range helicopter medivac underway for injured OGR sailor

by Ocean Globe Race 18 Sep 06:51 PDT
McIntyre Ocean Globe 2023 - Triana (66) FR, Swan 53, is currently involved in a long-range helicopter medivac to evacuate an injured crew member. Credit: OGR 2023/ Margault Demasles © Team Triana

The Portuguese Rescue Coordination Center is working with the McIntyre Ocean Globe crisis management team to coordinate a long-range helicopter medivac of injured sailor Stéphane Raguenes on board the French yacht TRIANA.

The yacht is one of 14 entrants that are currently competing in the 2023 McIntyre Ocean Globe Race around the world. Triana is currently 210 nautical miles South West of Portugal.

At 07:20 UTC Captain of Triana (66) FR, Jean d'Arthuys, contacted Ocean Globe Race control to request an urgent medivac from the vessel.

Yesterday at 1300 UTC the crew member Stéphane Raguenes slipped on deck in heavy weather causing a severe laceration on the back of his leg behind the knee. Stéphane was taken below for immediate first aid to stop the blood flow. He was sedated and given painkillers. He was conscious, talking and made comfortable by his crew mates.

MSOS, the OGR 24hr telemedicine team and TMAS International Telemedicine support were contacted and photos of the injuries were transmitted via satelite for diagnosis. Medical advice was provided to the crew. OGR declared a Code Orange and OGR protocols were put in place. Next of kin were informed.

Captain Jean d'Arthuys considered various options, including an emergency evacuation to a nearby container ship or transferring Doctor Tanneguy Raffray from Neptune (56) FR, another French OGR entrant. Neptune was just 12 nm away at the time. Unfortunately, 4mtr seas and moderate wind conditions ruled out both options. Diverting to Portugal was also considered but it was decided to continue South to Las Palmas and later Madeira. This option offered the least overall risk to all involved.

Overnight Stéphane condition deteriorated and the yacht's speed dropped in lighter winds. At 07:20 UTC Captain of Triana (66) FR, Jean d'Arthuys, contacted Ocean Globe Race control to request an immediate medivac from the vessel.

The OGR code ORANGE was ESCALATED to CODE RED. The decision was made after a difficult night for the casualty, Stéphane Raguenes, including continued blood loss. Morphine was administered. Captain Jean d'Arthuys also reported that the engine was not working.

[0721 UTC from Captain via WhatsApp]
Hi Don, situation is not good: He is bleeding and suffering and the wind is not good to go to Madère quickly. Can you organise an evacuation with helicopter or military ship today please. Tell me asap. Thanks. Jean

Constant satellite communication has been maintained between Triana and OGR control and satellite tracking has been updated to every 15 minutes. Next of kin have been informed.

MRCC Portugal, is in charge of the rescue operation with CROSS Gris-Nez, UK Coast Guard and MRCC Morocco on standby. Triana's EPIRB was NOT activated as stable communication has been established with Jean d'Arthuys and OGR crisis management team by voice and text.

Portuguese MRCC medics spoke to the Captain of Triana. Morocco MRCC was unable to provide a helicopter to make the 210 miles to Triana and back. Portugal MRCC have now approved a medivac by military helicopter and flight plans are currently under way. At 011UTC Portugal MRCC gave an ETA of 1425 UTC on scene to commence the Heli-lift of the casualty. A fixed wing aircraft will accompany the helicopter on this mission.

Triana's position at 1000 UTC was 34 degrees 26.49 N, 012 degrees 2.15 W. The yacht has now stopped to await the transfer. The weather is sunny, the conditions are light, winds 9-12 knots of northerly winds with 2 meter seas.

Triana, a Swan 53, was leading in Adventure Class, placed 7th overall and 5th in IRC racing. She is sailing with eight crew members onboard.

Further updates will be provided as the Medivac progresses. The McIntyre Ocean Globe Organisers wish to thank all MRCC and support services currently involved with this challenging Medivac operation.

All thoughts are with the injured sailor and the rescue personnel in the air.

At 09:30 UTC another entrant Godspeed (01) USA contacted OGR race control reporting their boom had developed a six-inch crack in the middle following a few days of heavy weather. The mainsail has been lowered and the boom secured. The team is now diverting to Lisbon to effect repairs.

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