Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Cruise - 2nd Day At Sea - Helicopter Rescue

Thursday morning marked the beginning of our return to Port Canaveral, or so we thought.  I woke up that morning hearing several announcements for some female to contact guest services.  This was a common occurrence throughout the week for people's names to be announced over the intercom to contact guest services so we didn't think much about it.  However, they kept calling for the same girl over the hallway intercom, every 20-30 minutes for a few hours.

Finally, around 10am, they called over all the intercoms (even in bedrooms) for one last opportunity for her to contact guest services or they would begin to do cabin searches.  Not too long after the cabin search warning, the cruise director announced that they had found the girl but that there was an unrelated medical emergency on board.  She asked for anyone with emergency room medical experience and specifically an anesthetist to contact guest services.  We were at breakfast at this point and not really sure of the situation.  Halfway through our meal, there was an announcement that the captain was at full speed and rerouting for help with the medical situation.

We proceeded about our morning meal and then planned out our day.  After we were done eating, we changed and headed to the top deck to resume our typical lounging spots.  However, when we got up on deck we were hit with tons of wind and realized how fast the boat was cruising!  For the next few hours there were announcements that the injured person had been stabilized and that the captain was in contact with the US Coast Guard and we were headed back south towards Puerto Rico.  The cruise director finally made an announcement that the US Coast Guard was going to do a helicopter rescue and air lift the injured person off the back of the ship and that we were all welcome to watch from the top decks.

We were given a time frame of when the rescue would take place, so we when the time was getting close, we headed to a different area to get a better view of the back of the boat.  It was really windy at that time and we knew that the wind was going to cause a delay.  About an hour after the window we were given, a plane and helicopter were finally spotted in the sky.  The plane did a continual circular pattern around the boat throughout the entire helicopter rescue.

(Awaiting on the very windy deck for further announcements about the helicopter rescue.)

(All the people standing on the top decks watching the rescue.)

(The helicopter hovered perfectly still in relation to the moving cruise ship.  First, one of the US Coast guard repelled down onto the back of the ship -- we couldn't see the area that he repelled down to.  The entire back of the ship was roped off for privacy/safety during the rescue.  Then a basket was lowered followed by a stretcher.  The basket was then raised along with someone sitting in it.  We assumed it was a family/crew member.)

(After the extra person was raised in the basket, the stretcher with the injured person was raised.  You could tell that the person was completely wrapped in white bandages/gauze.)

(Lastly, the US Coastguard that had repelled down first was pulled back to the helicopter.  It continued to hover in its spot until the guard was completely inside the helicopter and the door was closed.  The entire rescue took around 20 minutes!)

(I snapped this picture off our tv screen of how the boat's path shifted due to the helicopter rescue.  The detour from the top point of the original path to the rescue at the the lowest dip took about 4 hours of travelling at full speed.  By the time we had gotten back to our original location prior to detour, about 8 hours had lapsed.  We were unsure of how this would affect our return back to the States, as was the captain.  He made an announcement that more information would be given the following day.)

While watching the rescue take place, Dad & Steve stood on the top deck taking pictures & filming, while mom and I stood on the main deck and watched.  We were standing next to a family that were discussing the days events and we got all the scoop from them.  Supposedly, the girl that had gone missing was a teenager who had spent the evening with another bunch of teenagers/young adults and she fell asleep in their cabin.  They also said that they had heard that the injury was to a crew member. He was apparently working near a steam valve that blew; resulting in 3rd degree burns over 60% of his body.  The next morning, the cruise director did confirm that this was indeed what had happened.  

After the helicopter "show", we went and got something to eat before heading to our rooms to get ready for the last formal evening.  At dinner, or waiters were crazy as usual and full of napkin and dancing entertainment. 

(Arthur showing us how he used binoculars - made out of a napkin - to watch the helicopter rescue that afternoon.)

(Steve then had the binoculars and used them to keep an eye out on our waiters and dinner.)

(Since the binocular napkins wasn't providing enough entertainment, Arthur & Roberto decided that I should be decorated as the Statue of Liberty -- ha!)

(Obligatory dinner picture!)

(Look at that fancy couple!)

(Our crazy waiters at it again -- Dancing!  I think they were supposed to be doing a set dance, but in the end it turned into them all doing different and crazy moves.  They were nuts, which made dinner so fun!)

 After eating, we took some pictures (both professionally and just by ourselves) before heading to our room to change into comfortable clothes before the evening entertainment).  We opted to go watch a comedian in the comedy club instead of watching the main show (which involved a game show theme).  

(This is one of my favorite photos!  While taking our own formal photos, I asked Steve to take a picture of mom & I together.  He took one of us from far away, and then he wanted to do a close up.  Instead of just using the zoom button, he walked closer and closer to us until the camera was right in our faces.  We were laughing so hard at him choosing to move towards us instead of just using the zoom button.  Oh Steve and your camera skills.  I'm not complaining, though.  His skills continually show mine up.)

(Waiting for the comedy show to begin!)

(The comedian this night was pretty funny.  I can't even remember all he joked about other than lots of "age" humor. )

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