Kitty Hawk sailor recovering after collapse
Stars and Stripes June 22, 2003
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — A USS Kitty Hawk sailor is recovering after a near-fatal accident aboard the dry-docked vessel, officials said Friday.
The sailor — a fireman apprentice whose name has not been released — was found unconscious at 8:35 a.m. June 14 in one of the Kitty Hawk’s waste pump rooms.
Kitty Hawk crewmembers discovered the sailor and called the ship’s in-port emergency team, said 7th Fleet spokesman Lt. Mark Boyd.
Team members, dressed in Self-Contained Breathing Apparatuses, entered the pump room and started medical treatment on the sailor, who was unresponsive. It is believed the sailor was overcome by an unknown, noxious gas.
The sailor was transported to Yokosuka’s U.S. Naval Hospital, where he is still undergoing treatment.
According to two Kitty Hawk sailors who work in the area where the incident occurred, it was initially reported that the unconscious sailor was in critical condition.
By Friday, a hospital spokesman said the young man’s condition had markedly improved.
“The patient is in stable condition and is steadily improving after making a remarkable recovery,” said hospital spokesman Bill Doughty.
“The Navy family and the [sailor’s] family have been pulling for him, and there are plenty of smiles to go around today.”
The source of contamination and the events leading up to the incident are both under investigation, Boyd said.
The Kitty Hawk began a summer-long dry-dock period last month. Crewmembers and the Ship Repair Facility are working on dozens of massive repair projects and ship officials have repeatedly stressed safety precautions.
“This is now an industrial environment,” Kitty Hawk commanding officer Capt. Thomas Parker said in an interview when the ship began its dry-dock period.