Early on the evening of 11th November 2013 The St John Ambulance & Rescue Service received a request from Jersey Coastguard for assistance with the transfer of a medical team and vital drugs needed for a critically ill baby in Jersey General Hospital. Jersey is the largest of the Channel Islands and lies 38 miles to the South of Guernsey.
The medical team had been on route by air ambulance to Jersey airport to collect and transfer a baby to the UK, but en-route, due to deterioration in the weather conditions, the medical flight was diverted to Guernsey airport.
With low visibility and poor weather conditions in both Islands, it was predicated that the medical team and the specialised drugs they were carrying would not have reached Jersey until the following morning.
Due to the condition of the baby, the St John Marine Ambulance was sent on a mercy mission to St Helier, Jersey to transfer the drugs and the medical team by sea, the only route possible in the critical timeframe for them to reach the child.
The journey to Jersey took 1 hour 25mins in choppy sea conditions, poor visibility and force 5 winds. The Flying Christine III arrived safely in St Helier harbour at 20.21hrs.
An ambulance crew from the States of Jersey Ambulance Service met the marine ambulance on its arrival and transferred the medical team and drugs to the Jersey hospital. Following a short period in Jersey the crew of the marine ambulance brought the vessel back to St Peter Port harbour arriving at 22.00
Senior Officer Dean De La Mare said that this was an unusual mission for the marine ambulance, but in the tradition of St John, who’s motto is “for the service of humanity”, we were happy to assist the air ambulance team get to their destination.
A Helicopter from the Royal Navy later that evening landed in Jersey to fly the baby to Southampton for emergency treatment.