by Francis T. Wakefield
A Philippine Air Force (PAF) Air Ambulance team recently became the airborne hero to an ailing Filipino seafarer after he was airlifted amid deteriorating weather and rough sea conditions from an Italian bulk carrier in the West Philippine Sea.
According to PAF spokesman Col. Antonio Francisco, the 505th Search and Rescue Group last December 8 promptly responded to a distress call from MV Marlene D’ Amato, since one of its crewmembers, Able Seaman Jerome Jaime required immediate medical attention.
Francisco said the Italian vessel was cruising in the vicinity of the West Philippine Sea some 100 nautical miles west of Bolinao, Pangasinan when the distress call was made through the Philippine Coast Guard Action Center.
The PAF deployed the S-76A Sikorsky Air Ambulance Helicopter of the 505th Search and Rescue Group.
Francisco said despite encountering deteriorating weather and rough sea conditions which complicated the helicopter’s landing at the ship’s deck, 1st Lt. Jessie D. Miller Jr., and 1st Lt. Rolando A. Rengel Jr. skillfully managed to airlift the seafarer to Col. Jesus Villamor Air Base in Pasay City.
Francisco said other members of the PAF Air Ambulance Team headed by Capt. Antonio N. Tamayo (Medical Corps) and Pararescue personnel of the 505th SRG worked hand-in-hand in ensuring the successful conduct of the mission.