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19 fall overboard in boat mishap involving U.S. Navy Hospital Ship

More than a dozen personnel were dumped into the water in a small boat mishap involving the hospital ship USNS Comfort, the U.S. Navy confirmed in a statement Tuesday.

On Monday evening, during a lightering transfer to bring medical personnel from Wharf de Jeremie, Haiti back to the hospital ship, heavy swells prompted the crew to attempt to retrieve the boat using the ship’s crane, 4th Fleet told USNI News. During hoisting, the boat tipped, releasing 19 people into the water.

With help from the Coast Guard cutter Harold Miller, all of the individuals from the boat were recovered and returned to USNS Comfort. Two Navy sailors were injured in the fall, but since Comfort is a hospital ship, treatment was close at hand. Both were provided with care aboard the ship and are expected to fully recover.

Comfort has paused its personnel lightering operations until its crew determines the safest alternatives for making the transfers, the Navy said in a statement.

USNS Comfort arrived off Jeremie, Haiiti on Sunday for the final stop of a medical-assistance tour. The ship’s medical crew was scheduled to provide care to local residents on the wharf throughout the week, including general care, paediatric care and dental and optometry services.

The town of Jeremie was hit hard by the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that struck the region in 2021.

The quake killed at least 3,000 people and injured 12,000 more. The U.S. provided disaster relief assistance in the aftermath, rescuing hundreds and distributing food supplies for thousands. USNS Comfort’s port call in Jeremie is part of the ongoing follow-up and relief effort for the region.

Credit: Maritime Executive



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