Rescue squadron moves injured Marine
Stars and Stripes July 2, 2003
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — A 28-year-old Marine was rushed by military helicopter to Camp Lester’s U.S. Naval Hospital following a rock climbing accident Sunday in northern Okinawa.
The 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit Marine, whose name was not released, was in stable condition Monday, according to a Marine spokesman.
Initial reports indicated he had several broken ribs and a punctured lung.
The airlift involved landing a 33rd Rescue Squadron HH-60 helicopter from Kadena Air Base on a Nago rugby field.
The helicopter was called after Navy medics transporting the Marine in an ambulance from the Sade district of Kunigami Village reported his condition was worsening, according to a Kunigami Fire Department spokesman.
The Marine was climbing at Zatsun Tunnel near Route 58 at 8:40 a.m. when he fell onto rocks on the beach below, said Hidenobu Henzan, Kunigami Fire Department section chief.
“Another Marine was holding him on the rocks where he fell,” Henzan said. “After stabilizing his neck with a cervical brace, our ambulance transported him to Sade, where he was relayed to a military ambulance.”
The helicopter was dispatched to Sade, located about halfway to Nago, following a report the Marine was having difficulty breathing.
The helicopter arrived at the park at about 11:10 a.m., attracting a crowd of about 100 people, the Japanese newspaper Ryukyu Shimpo reported. It took off 36 minutes later with the injured Marine.
— Chiyomi Sumida contributed to this report.