Police said Monday they are awaiting word from the state’s medical examiner on the cause of death for the man who died aboard the trawler Osprey Sunday, while Coast Guard officials explained why they called for the vessel to travel to Gloucester rather than launch a more immediate rescue mission when the vessel was still out to sea.
Crew members on board the herring trawler Osprey first contacted the Coast Guard regarding what appeared to be a “severe asthma attack” that caused Michael Grindle to collapse Sunday at around 3:45 a.m. The Coast Guard notified the Osprey’s crew that Coast Guard members would not be responding to the medical emergency at sea.
“There is a Coast Guard policy of how and when we send helicopters based on survival numbers after CPR,” Bryan Swintek, Command Center Chief at Sector Southeastern New England said Monday.
He explained that statistics show a person undergoing chest compressions will typically survive for under an hour without access to a heart defibrillator. A Coast Guard helicopter could have reached the 107-foot herring trawler in about two hours, but the trip to the hospital would expend another hour, he said.
Guard members from the Southeastern sector that received the emergency call instead instructed the crew to perform CPR on Grindle, and his colleagues on board pumped at his chest until about 4 a.m., when his pulse dropped away.
A Coast Guard spokeswoman said that to break from the CPR compressions in order to hoist Grindle into the helicopter would have only have proved more detrimental to Grindle’s critical health.
“There would have been no benefit to the victim to actually conduct the med evac,” Myeonghi Clegg said.
Instead, the vessel steamed on to Gloucester with Grindle’s body aboard on a trip that took some 12 hours.