US Hospital Ship Provides Critical Medical Care to Six Survivors in Bougainville Sea

ARAWA (BOUGAINVILLE) - The hospital ship USNS Mercy provided critical medical care to six survivors of a vessel lost at sea near Carteret Atoll.

The six injured people, including an 18-month old infant, were flown via helicopter from Han Island, a small land mass off the coast of Carteret Island in Papua New Guinea to the Mercy where they were immediately provided medical care.

“All patients are currently in good condition,” said Capt. Melanie Merrick, the commanding officer of the treatment facility.

The Government of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, contacted the U.S. Embassy in Port Moresby to request assistance transporting the civilians, who were survivors of a ship reported lost at sea June 27.

The Mission Commander of Pacific Partnership 2015, Capt. Chris Engdahl, directed his maritime operations center aboard Mercy to launch one of its helicopters to pick up the injured and transport them to the ship for medical support.

The injured had swam ashore after being lost at sea June 27. On that same day, Mercy received a request for search and rescue support from the Chief Secretary of Bougainville through the U.S. Embassy, which reported a small boat missing at sea along with nine passengers, one of whom was an infant. The boat had been in transit from Buka to Carteret Island.

In response, Mercy launched two helicopters, both with Navy search and rescue swimmers on board, to search the area, but they were unable to locate the boat or any survivors.

Mercy is currently in Papua New Guinea for its second mission port of Pacific Partnership 2015. [USEmbassy]
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