Maryland State Police helicopter hoists sick passenger from cruise ship in Chesapeake Bay

A Maryland State Police helicopter staged a dramatic rescue Tuesday night of a sick passenger from a cruise ship in the Chesapeake Bay.

The state police said they got word from the U.S. Coast Guard about a 61-year-old woman experiencing a medical emergency aboard the AIDAluna cruise ship about 9:40 p.m. Tuesday.

The state police Aviation Command out of Easton, Maryland, sprang into action, flying an AW-139 helicopter to the ship, which was south of the Bay Bridge near Kent Island.

During the “aerial hoist operation,” the helicopter hovered 120 feet above the ship’s deck, while a state police paramedic was lowered to the deck, secured the woman in a special device, and then both the medic and the patient were lifted back to the waiting helicopter.

The woman was flown to the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore. There was no further word on her condition.

Maryland State Police Sgt. Stephen Reuter said the air command usually performs a few hoist rescues a year.

“Having to make a U-turn with a ship of that size isn’t easy,” he told WTOP. So, often, a helicopter rescue is usually faster.

The AIDAluna cruise ship, which is part of a line owned by the Carnival Corp., had left Baltimore on Tuesday, and was headed for Norfolk, Virginia, according to an online itinerary.

Jack Moore

Jack Moore joined as a digital writer/editor in July 2016. Previous to his current role, he covered federal government management and technology as the news editor at, part of Government Executive Media Group.

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