A teenager whose appendix ruptured at sea, hundreds of miles from help, got safely to shore Tuesday after an unusual rescue in which the Navy airlifted her from a cruise ship for emergency surgery. Laura Montero, 14, fell ill aboard the Dawn Princess cruise ship off the coast of Baja California.
The Bahamian-registered ship sent out a distress call Friday that was answered by the , which was on training maneuvers about 500 miles away.
The nuclear carrier was the closest ship with a hospital facility, according to a news release from the Navy. It steamed overnight toward the cruise ship, which was about 250 miles northwest of when the call went out.
A helicopter took off from the Reagan around 5 a.m. Saturday to close the final 175-mile gap between the ships. The crew arrived after a 45-minute flight and lowered a medic onto the cruise ship deck in a basket because there wasn't space to land, said Lt. Cmdr. Gregory Leland, the pilot.
Montero, who was on an antibiotic drip, was loaded into a litter basket, lifted into the helicopter and flown back to the Reagan for an appendectomy.
As someone on a maillist said about this topic: wait until her insurance company gets that bill!
Good job to the Navy on that mission.