Palmyra Atoll shark bite victim transported to Oahu

An HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point medevaced a shark bite victim from Palmyra Atoll. Photo courtesy Coast Guard

The Coast Guard medically evacuated a woman after she was bitten by a shark near Palmyra Atoll on Sunday.

The Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu received a call from the Palmyra research facility director reporting that a 37-year-old female patient sustained a shark bite to her left hand.

The patient was a NOAA researcher living on Palmyra Atoll, and was bitten by a black tip reef shark while tagging sharks in the area of the Atoll.

A CG flight surgeon consulted with the medical staff treating the victim and determined that a medevac was warranted due to the risk of infection and possible nerve and tendon damage.

Commercial aircraft, however, were not available until Tuesday.

So a HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point was launched to Palmyra Atoll to conduct the medevac. The patient was transported to Air Station Barbers Point on Oahu where emergency medical technicians safely transported her to Kaiser Permanente Moanalua Medical Center and Clinic for further treatment. She is in stable condition.

The aircrew flew more than 1,000 miles from Hawaii to Palmyra Atoll to complete the medevac. This is comparable to dispatching an ambulance from Seattle to respond to a patient in San Diego.

The 14th Coast Guard District encompasses more than 12.2 million square miles of the Central and South Pacific.

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