Author Topic: December 2000 Helicopter Rescue at Sea  (Read 3983 times)

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Offline Scott Ebersold

December 2000 Helicopter Rescue at Sea
« on: Mar 19, 2009, 09:33 PM »
Hey Guys,

I was talking about this story with Rob yesterday and since then I've been searching the internet for more info ... but to no avail.  I thought I'd share it with you guys and maybe one of you was onboard at the same time and has photos or video...

It was the 2000 December crossing and about 3 days out from NY we had some rough weather. (Which is why we were on-board!)   I remember I was exiting the Yacht Club heading to the men's room, (where there were 3 steps down, a landing and a few steps up to the gents)  when we hit a wave and mid-step I was hurtled across the landing to the opposite stairs without ever touching down in the middle!  (This moment went on to become a fun story I'd share with my friends over time that eventually we recently recreated for the camera on my last trip in October 2008.)

The next day we heard from the crew that a crewman had been injured but had little details.  Many of the crew were visibly shaken.  Our cabin stewarts Maureen and Peter tried to keep us informed as best as possible.  It turns out that a crew member had fallen over the rail of the stairs leading to the crew bars up front and fell three decks down injuring his back.  He was in the hospital but rumors of a rescue at sea were circulating.

Later that evening at dinner Captain Warwick comes over the PA.  He apologizes for interrupting dinner and says it is not something he would usually do but a crew member had been injured quite badly the night before and needed to be airlifted to shore (Boston).  A Coast Guard Helicopter and jet were on their way.  He warned us to stay away from the Helicopter deck and forbid ANY flash photography.  The flash would blind the helicopter pilot.  He also explained that he wouldn't be able to stop QE2 because our forward momentum was helping to keep the ship stable.  That meant that the helicopter would have to match our speed forward and at the same time hover just above the helicopter deck.  It wouldn't be able to land because it was too dangerous.  We were told the jet would be coordinating everything from above.

Naturally, we gulped down our dinner and dashed up to our rooms to look out on the balconies.  Just aft we could hear a helicopter so we ran out into the hall ran aft on the signal deck.   There was a door at the end of the hall.  The night stewardess tried to stop us, but we were determined.  She turned away raised her hands and said, "If anyone asks, I've never seen ya!"  We went out onto what I think was the doggie deck and it was like stepping into a movie.   It was raining, windy and the ship was rocking ... and we were all dressed up for dinner!  The enormous funnel was right on top of us and just behind it, was a HUGE helicopter dropping a line down with a basket!  They strapped the poor crewman in and hoisted him up as he swayed an bobbed in the wind.

There are almost no words to describe it.   It was so amazing to witness.  And to think we were miles and miles from land.  We were all really sad to see how upset the crew was and anxious to know how the injured man turned out (which I believe in the end he was fine) but that night was one of those QE2 memories I will never forget!

I remember our friends had a video camera.  I'll ask them if they have any video to share.  My camera was pre-digital, so as soon as I find the hard copies and scan them I will try to upload them.  I was wondering if any of you were onboard and might have similiar stories or ... PICTURES!  Looking forward to hearing if any of you.


Offline Andy F

Re: December 2000 Helicopter Rescue at Sea
« Reply #1 on: Mar 20, 2009, 12:51 AM »
Great story Scott thanks and nice to hear it first-hand from someone who was there
Start every day with a smile and get it over with

Offline Louis De Sousa

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Re: December 2000 Helicopter Rescue at Sea
« Reply #2 on: Apr 18, 2009, 08:00 AM »
Heres a rescue at sea i think its 1993


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Re: December 2000 Helicopter Rescue at Sea
« Reply #3 on: Apr 18, 2009, 10:22 PM »
Great Shot
Not easy to winch at sea. Any idea where this is and who?/what this was about etc?

Offline Malcolm

Re: December 2000 Helicopter Rescue at Sea
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2009, 04:05 PM »
Great story Scott thanks and nice to hear it first-hand from someone who was there

Rob's just directed me to this thread from another one about helicopters. A belated thank you for the first hand experience and a wish that, if it has to happen, I'd been there to see it as well. :) Do you know what happened to the crewman? Did he survive the experience?

Offline Scott Ebersold

Re: December 2000 Helicopter Rescue at Sea
« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2009, 04:24 PM »
It was an unforgettable experience.  I don't know what happened to the crew member.  I have always wondered...