Clipper Race: Emergency Rescue in North Atlantic

Published on June 24th, 2016

(June 24, 2016; Day 4) – A Clipper Round the World Yacht Race crew member has been successfully medevaced off a yacht in the North Atlantic Ocean with the help of ClipperTelemed+, the race’s Emergency Medical Support Partner, and the Canadian Defense Department, which carried out a challenging helicopter rescue.

Chris Drummond, 62, from High Wycombe, UK a crew member on board IchorCoal, had complained of severe chest pains yesterday but was stabilised after receiving care from one of the team’s two on board medics, a Consultant Anesthetist.

The decision to carry out a medical evacuation of the crew member from the racing yacht to Canada was made as precaution based on advice from specialist remote telemedicine doctors at ClipperTelemed+.

Due to the strong prevailing conditions around 220 miles from the Nova Scotian coast, Canada, the primary rescue plan had to be abandoned, and the secondary plan implemented with two helicopter crew lowered on to help winch Chris off into the Rescue 913 helicopter at 0914 UTC today, Friday.

Chris was then transferred to Queen Elizabeth II hospital in Halifax where he is undergoing tests and receiving the necessary care that he requires.

IchorCoal Skipper Rich Gould praised his crew following the medevac and described the difficult and delicate rescue operation which involved two Cormorant rescue helicopters.

“This might be an amateur race, but from what I have seen from my team in the past 24 hours I can assure the crew are anything but!

“The total time of the whole operation was little more than 30 minutes from when Rescue 913 began to track us for the primary plan. Once we changed to the secondary plan it took 14 minutes from the time that we made contact with their guide line. It was very impressive stuff – 14 minutes to lower two men, collect the casualty and extract all three people.

“I must say a massive thank you to all involved in the rescue, everyone from the Clipper Race team to the doctors at ClipperTelemed+, each operator that I was in contact with from Falmouth, UK, the USA and Canada, both on the phone and via email, the air crews of both the C130 and Rescue 913 and of course the winchmen that came down on the wire.

“Myself and the crew would like to wish Chris a swift recovery. We are thinking of you,” Rich added.

The IchorCoal team is now motoring back to the position where it ceased racing and will restart the race to Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland, following the race start from New York on Monday evening (June 20).

The crew, and the eleven other competing teams are now on their final leg of the 40,000 nautical mile journey which concludes in London on Saturday 30 July.

In 2015, Clipper Ventures and PRAXES Medical Group launched the global joint venture ClipperTelemed+ to provide remote medical support to international seafarers and adventurers in some of the world’s most inhospitable areas.

Doctors at the PRAXES HQ in Halifax, Canada, responded to the satellite phone call from on board IchorCoal and gave medical advice remotely. Simultaneously the doctors also worked directly with Canada’s Joint Rescue Coordination Centre and their Search & Rescue team to help manage a helicopter medevac as soon as the yacht was within range.

ClipperTelemed+’s John Hockin, VP of Marketing, said of the medevac: “With no other supporting symptoms that could have positively identified a more minor condition, ClipperTelemed+ doctors quickly chose to call for an immediate diversion towards Halifax, Canada, whilst providing advice for the Skipper and on board medic to help care for Chris in the short term.

“All of us at ClipperTelemed+ and PRAXES are extremely proud in the way our doctors manage a remote situation and make the essential call to medevac when it is necessary.

“We wish Chris Drummond a speedy recovery in hospital in Halifax and the crew of Ichorcoal a safe trip to Derry-Londonderry,” added John.

During the Clipper 2015-16 Race, torn torsos have been sutured, broken bones set, what was feared to be a heart attack correctly diagnosed as heat exhaustion thus preventing a medevac, extreme pain relief administered for gall stones, and countless minor bumps and scrapes have been treated efficiently with the expert advice from ClipperTelemed+ doctors.

The Clipper 2015-16 Race marks the tenth edition of the unique global event which was established by legendary sailor Sir Robin Knox-Johnston to allow anyone, regardless of previous sailing history, the chance to experience the thrill of ocean racing.

More than 700 amateur crew members are competing in the 2015-16 edition, representing 44 different nationalities.

Event WebsiteRace ViewerTeam ReportsFacebook

Background: The 40,000 mile Clipper 2015-16 Round the World Yacht Race began in London, UK on August 30 for the fleet of twelve identical Tony Castro designed Clipper 70s. The series is divided into 16 individual races, with the team with the best cumulative score winning the Clipper Race Trophy. Each team is led by a professional skipper with an all-amateur crew.

The fleet is now racing from New York to London, starting the transatlantic crossing on June 20. The 4,894mi course includes three legs: New York, USA to Derry Londonderry, Northern Ireland; Derry Londonderry to Den Helder, The Netherlands; and Den Helder to London, UK. The Clipper Race fleet is due to arrive in Derry Londonderry, Northern Ireland between July 7 to 11. The global circuit concludes on July 30.

The ports along the race route are Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Cape Town, South Africa; Albany, Sydney, Hobart and Airlie Beach, Australia; Da Nang, Vietnam; Qingdao, China; Seattle, USA; Panama; New York, USA; Derry-Londonderry, Ireland; and Den Helder, Netherlands before returning to London by late July.

Source: Clipper Round the World Yacht Race

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