Dramatic rescue for stricken boater
Published on September 23rd, 2020
Canadian Glenn Wakefield’s third shot at circumnavigating the world solo has come to an abrupt halt after he suffered a massive stroke at sea. The 70 year old, who set sail on September 6 from Victoria on West Wind II, a Comanche 42 designed by Sparkman and Stephens, became ill on September 16, approximately 500 nautical miles west of San Francisco.
Before losing consciousness, he managed to send a message to his family that he needed help, and after a 48-hour rescue at sea and emergency medevac to a specialized hospital, he is in critical condition in a trauma center in San Jose, California. Emergency surgery was performed to remove a blood clot in his brain and he is still in the intensive care unit.
Wakefield’s boat remains adrift off the coast of California, and since he didn’t anticipate touching U.S. soil, he didn’t have any American medical insurance, and his family expects his medical expenses and care are expected to be over $100,000.
The U.S. Coast Guard Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC) Alameda took responsibility for Wakefield’s rescue after his wife MaryLou Wakefield notified them about his medical distress. A SafetyNet broadcast was sent out, asking any vessels in the area to assist if possible. At this point Glenn Wakefield was approximately 420 nautical miles northwest of San Francisco.
The Coast Guard, working with a nearby ship and a small rescue boat, transferred Wakefield, who was unconscious, to the larger ship. The next day, he was hoisted from the larger ship by the 129th Rescue Wing airborne division. Several in-air refuelings were required and a total of five planes were involved in the rescue. From there, Wakefield was transported to San Jose Regional Hospital.
“This is a devastating situation for our family. We are shocked, saddened and filled with worry for Glenn’s recovery,” reads the GoFundMe to assist with expenses. “We never imagined he would be stricken by something like this. All the hours we have spent worrying about the gales and seas he has to manage … but never this.”
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Source: Oak Bay News