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Coast Guard medevacs transatlantic rower

The Coast Guard rescued a solo ocean rower in need of medical attention more than 50 miles south of Shinnecock, N.Y., this week.

Watchstanders at the First Coast Guard District command center in Boston received a call Friday from the Maritime Rescue Coordination Center in Falmouth, U.K., that a person aboard the 24-foot ocean rowing craft Alliance Trust sustained serious injuries.

A Coast Guard flight surgeon was consulted and recommended that the rower be medevaced due to his injuries.

The Coast Guard cutter Sailfish crew, homeported in Bayonne, N.J. located the injured rower shortly around midnight.

“We only had about 50 feet of visibility because the fog was so thick offshore making it difficult to locate the boat,” said Lt. James Provost, commanding officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Sailfish. “We were communicating with the rower by satellite phone and we had him vector us in by flashing a light.”

A Coast Guard EMT went aboard the rowing vessel and assessed his condition. It was determined that the rower could be transferred to the Coast Guard cutter where he was treated for his injuries during the transit back to Bayonne.

“When we first came upon him, he was in a lot of pain,” said Provost of the rower whose face was covered in blood from a laceration to his head. “He was very thankful that we were there to help him and he was very relieved we were there.”

39-year-old Niall Iain Macdonald was attempting to row from New York City to Stornoway, Scotland, solo.

Dubbed NY2SY, the 3,400 mile crossing of the North Atlantic from the U.S. east coast to Lewis was to raise money for the Scottish Association of Mental Health.

Macdonald, 40, had said he expected the journey to take him at least three months to complete.

Click here for a report by The Independent newspaper of Scotland.