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Video shows Coast Guard rescuing pregnant woman from Disney cruise

The 35-year-old woman was experiencing a medical emergency aboard the ship and had to be airlifted to get help.
Video shows Coast Guard rescuing pregnant woman from Disney cruise
Posted at 8:55 PM, Apr 17, 2024

A pregnant passenger aboard Disney Fantasy had to be airlifted from the cruise ship after experiencing health complications. 

The U.S. Coast Guard said the cruise line requested medevac services with its San Juan, Puerto Rico, sector Monday morning due to the 35-year-old woman requiring "a higher level of medical care ashore." Soon after, a Coast Guard MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter and an HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft from Miami made their way toward the ship's spot in the Atlantic Ocean, 180 miles northwest of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.

Video shows the aircraft approaching above the ship before a rescuer lowers down onto it by rope. The Coast Guard said that was the Jayhawk crew's "rescue swimmer," who prepared a "rescue basket and litter to safely hoist the patient and cruise ship doctor" aboard the chopper.

Seven people can be seen in the footage carrying the patient on a stretcher toward an area where one team member attached her and the cot to a hanging rope. She was then lifted to the helicopter door and brought safely inside.

Emergency medical personnel local to San Juan, Puerto Rico, met the Coast Guard aircrew and the patient at the city's Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci Airport, then transported the woman to a local hospital, the military body said.

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"Our crew was able to quickly, safely and efficiently execute a long-range MEDEVAC for the patient to receive the higher level of care she required," said Lt. Cmdr. Todd Stephens. "This case demonstrates the value of good crew resource management and the capabilities of our Jayhawk helicopter."

"The competency displayed by the Disney Fantasy crew and the Coast Guard personnel and units involved made all the difference," said Ensign Michael Riccio, Coast Guard Sector San Juan operations unit leader for the case.

The woman's name and the reason for her medical emergency were not made clear as of Tuesday evening. 

Disney Cruise Lines' website states it has a doctor and nurse on call 24/7 in the event of medical emergencies onboard, while a daily clinic is available for non-emergent care.

It also says pregnant women are permitted to sail with the company, but those who are past their 24th week or who will enter their 24th week during the voyage cannot be permitted passage due to safety concerns.

"Neither a doctor's medical statement nor a waiver of liability will be accepted," the website states. "In addition, Disney Cruise Line cannot be held responsible or liable for any complications relating to pregnancy at any stage."

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