NEW DELHI: The Indian Navy evacuated a Filipino crew member of a merchant vessel off the coast of Kochi after his health deteriorated rapidly due to suspected COVID-19.
Michel John Abaygar, the Chief Officer of the vessel MV Lyric Poet, was evacuated using an Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) by the Southern Naval Command (SNC) on Tuesday, Navy officials said.
The ship was en route to Machong from Gibraltar.
In a swift coordinated ops, #medicalevacuation on the high seas was undertaken by #IndianNavy's Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH), from MV Lyric Poet off #Kochi.#IndianNavy #CoastGuard Coordinated ops#SouthernNavalCommand@DefencePROkochi @IndiaCoastGuard @DefenceMinIndia pic.twitter.com/msIZncsroZ— SpokespersonNavy (@indiannavy) September 29, 2021
"At about 4 PM, on Tuesday, the SNC received an input regarding suspected COVID-19 positive case of a Filipino male crew from Coast Guard headquarters. The vessel's local agent intimated that the medical condition of the Chief Officer, Michel John Abaygar was severely deteriorating with depleting oxygen levels and required immediate medical evacuation," an Indian Navy spokesperson said.
He said an ALH was immediately launched from INS Garuda to undertake the medical evacuation.
"The pilots of the helicopter displaying tremendous skill and professionalism successfully completed the mission in adverse weather conditions and ensured safe evacuation of the patient," the spokesperson said.
Abaygar was brought to INS Garuda and subsequently admitted to INHS Sanjivini, a naval hospital, for further treatment.