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Medical emergency diverts R/V Dan Moore to Florida port; Crew member taken to hospital

WILMINGTON, NC (NEWS RELEASE) — Students and crew aboard Cape Fear Community College’s marine research vessel the R/V Dan Moore experienced some tense moments off the coast of Florida last night in a medical emergency involving a crew member.

The ship was returning home from 10-day training voyage when first assistant engineer William “Billy” Carlson reported that he was experiencing severe chest pain and other heart attack-like symptoms. Capt. Steve Beuth immediately contacted the US Coast Guard to request assistance and changed the ship’s course to the nearest port.

The Coast Guard responded by sending a helicopter to the ship to attempt to airlift Carlson. However, due to windy conditions and rough seas, several airlift attempts proved unsuccessful. The Coast Guard then dropped a diver into the water who swam to the ship to provide medical assistance on the way to port.

The R/V Dan Moore arrived at Port Canaveral at 2:30 a.m. where an ambulance was waiting to take Carlson to a hospital.

College officials are awaiting for an update on Carlson’s condition.

The ship has since resumed training operations and is expected to arrive back in Wilmington late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning.

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