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Coast Guard evacuates crew member from freighter on Lake Superior

The freighter Sam Laud. (Photo by Carole Lent)

The U.S. Coast Guard evacuated a crew member from a freighter on Lake Superior on Tuesday for medical reasons.

According to a news release from the Coast Guard, officials in Canada relayed a report to the Coast Guard station in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., about an ill crew member aboard the freighter Sam Laud near Isle Royale at about noon CDT Tuesday.

"It was determined that a U.S. Coast Guard crew was best suited to respond," Petty Officer 1st Class Juston Wilcox, a search and rescue controller with the Coast Guard in Sault Ste. Marie, said in a news release. "This is the kind of case that shows how well we work with our Canadian counterparts; it's a partnership that enables us to get help to people in trouble on the Great Lakes as fast as we can."

After medical personnel determined that the case warranted emergency evacuation, a Traverse City, Mich.-based Coast Guard rescue aircrew responded aboard an MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter.

They arrived at the 634-foot vessel, about 12 miles south of Isle Royale and 30 miles from the Keweenaw Peninsula, at about 3:30 p.m. CDT. The crew airlifted the sick crew member, and he was transferred to waiting emergency crews and transported to Portage Health hospital in Hancock, Mich.

The crew member's current condition is not known, and his name and the nature of his illness have not been released.

The Sam Laud was bound for Silver Bay to load iron ore pellets, according to the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center in Duluth. It was scheduled to depart Silver Bay this morning.