GRESHAM, Ore. (KOIN 6) — A team of five Gresham firefighters sailing in the Caribbean rescued a surgeon from Holland, and then sailed his boat, and family, to Antigua.
Anthony Foster, a Gresham firefighter and paramedic, says the incident happened back in December 2014 while the firefighters were on a sailing trip.
Gresham firefighters Kevin Larson, Shane Kooch, Brent Stewart, Jeff Ingram, and Bran Keltz were in a remote part of the islands. All five are trained medics, Foster says. They had moored their sailboat near a very small island off Antigua.
The firefighters noticed a man who was hurt. The man was being helped by his family. When the off-duty firefighters made contact with the family, they learned that the man had severely dislocated his shoulder, Foster says. They learned that the man is a surgeon based in Holland, and was vacationing with his family.
An attempt was made to re-locate the surgeon’s shoulder but his muscles had already tightened up, Foster says. They were able to load the injured sailor into the dinghy, which is a small boat, and get him back to their sailboat.
The surgeon, Foster says, was the only one in his family who knew how to sail. With the man safely on board, the firefighters were able to treat him. Two other firefighters then boarded the surgeon’s vessel and sailed his boat and family back to Antigua, which took about an hour and a half.
Once back on shore, a local ambulance transported the man to a hospital, Foster says. The firefighters were able to alert doctors of their incoming patient.
Foster says that once the surgeon got home, he e-mailed the department to offer his gratitude. The man told firefighters that without their help, he didn’t know how he would have gotten his family off the island.