Friday, September 29, 2006

Crazy Pictures of Crazy Boat Rescue II

Here's a decent pic from the mission I was on to get a guy off a boat about 150 miles into Bristol Bay (north of the Aluetians, south of the Bering Sea).

For frequent readers, this was
Crazy Boat II, as opposed to Crazy Boat I

Here's what you see:

obviously, its from the helo, looking down.

from the water off the boat, you can see we were moving pretty good, about 10knots through the water (front of boat is top of pic). obviously, its a good shot of the boat and how tight it is. realize that the deck the guys are standing on is actually sunke, probably 10 feet, below those railings. From top of the smokes stacks on either side into that pit is about 30 feet.

on the very bottom of the pic, you'll probably spot the guy in the orange and blue suit with the helmet, looking up. thats my partner paul, on the deck, looking up. the litter is at the end of the cable, the patient is wrapped in a blanket (his head is cut off on the bottom of the pic), and I'm attached to him on one side.

What also isn't obvious is that the patient is a 250lbs Samoan dude. keep that in mind as the story goes along.

Easiest way to realize what you're looking at is to realize that the white circle next to the patient is my helmet, but my drysuit is black so its tough to spot what i'm up to.

we're above the deck, halfway up the cable - its hard to tell how how high since the angle is looking down. but let me point out one more thing.

down on the deck is what looks like a line down the center of the deck. its impossible to tell, but that's a 3 foot railing that runs down the center.

So as we lifted off the deck, we got to about 4 feet up and the boat hit a wave and it what must have been a 5ft wave. Because suddenly the deck - and particularly that railing, came up and attacked me and my 250 lbs Samoan. in about .01 of a second, i found myself thrown over the railing, with the full weight of the Somoan crashing across my femurs.

For a moment I actually thought to myself, "well this is going to be a great 6-hour helo ride back home with 2 broken legs."

I rolled out from under him, which only brought the litter to rest on top of me on the deck. So I was relatively safe from being broken inhalf, but now pinned beneath 250 lbs of somoan-attached-to-a-helicopter.

at that point i looked over towards my partner and the rest of the crew, that had retreated from under the helo as we lifted off and thought to myself: "
I'm here to rescue this guy. Somebody pull him off me."

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Crazy sings the blues

Apparently, somebody decided everybody was having too much fun in Crazy.

the toughest football coach in America died after heart surgery last week. Let's take a moment to appreciate the sublimely named Buck Nystrom, whose legacy matches his name. Coaching in the 40-below-in-November Fairbanks area, first at tiny Eielson and then nearby North Pole (!), Nystrom won two state titles. He remains the only non-Anchorage coach ever to win State. He died after heart surgery last week, which is ridiculous because anybody who coaches North Pole High school to a state title ain't lackin' heart.

Here's one for ya: When Nystrom won his second title with North Pole, they trounced several Anchorage teams in the playoffs (needles to say, Anchorage, with its huge schools, is the giant black hole at the center of Alaska high school sports). Afterwards, Nystrom would tell people it was his first real title because when he won it all with Eielson, their path that year hadn't gone through any Anchorage teams.