At about 11:00 A.M. on 20MAR10, the Captain of the M/S Freedom of the Seas (Royal Caribbean International) came over the P.A. system to report that a passenger had become severely ill overnight and must be airlifted. He went on to say that he was in contact with the United States Coast Guard and that a helo was inbound.
The Freedom has a helipad on the bow, which was obviously closed to guests at that point, and the top deck, Deck 12, was closed forward. I took my camera to the ship's fitness center which overlooks the bow for what was possibly the best location anyway, seeing as the helo wouldn't try to land anyway. Sure enough, it was just about even with us when it was hovering, if not lower.
In the clip you will see it's initial fly-by as it arrives on station, a practice approach to get an idea of the deck size and wind correction, the rescue swimmer being lowered to the deck, the basket going down and then it pulling away. It will then come back to pick up the victim as well as the air crewman, and then depart. You can't really hear it in the video, but the ship gave off three long bursts of it's horn as the helo departed, symbolizing the all-clear and the gratitude of the Captain to the Coast Guardsman. The entire ordeal stepped off around 12 and lasted about 45 minutes.
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