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ResQgeek

October 2017

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 On the first full day of our cruise, which was our only day at sea as we sailed north along the Norwegian coast, we witnessed our third major emergency operation of the trip.  Shortly before midday, we returned to our stateroom to pick up some things and noticed the sound of a helicopter flying nearby. Almost as soon as that sound registered, there was an announcement on the public address system requesting the stretcher team to report to the ship's hospital. I stepped out onto our balcony and discovered that the Norwegian rescue helicopter was directly above our cabin!

I quickly grabbed my camera, and began to take photos as we watched a member of the helicopter crew prepare to repel down to the ship. Once he was on deck, they lowered a basket down, and the helicopter moved out next the ship while they prepared the patient for the transfer.  Over the next 15-20 minutes the helicopter appeared to remain perfectly stationary relative to the ship. But since the ship was still moving, this meant that the helicopter was actually station-keeping, moving at exactly the same speed as the ship. That pilot did a truly impressive job of flying the helicopter.



Eventually, the helicopter moved back over the ship and the patient and crew member were hoisted aboard.  When the aircraft moved alongside again, the crew was sliding the side door closed and the helicopter accelerated ahead of the ship before crossing in front of us towards the Norwegian shore. It was a very professional and skilled operation. I have no idea what the condition of the patient might have been, but we weren't scheduled to arrive at a port with a hospital until the third day of the cruise, so I can imagine a number of situations that might have been beyond the ability of the ship's hospital to manage until then.

Afterwards, we talked to others on the ship and discovered that all the outdoor decks of the ship had been closed during the operation, to prevent people from being blown overboard by the rotor wash. That meant that only those with balconies on our side of the ship had a decent chance of witnessing the operation, although everyone on the ship knew it was happening. It was the first time I've been on a cruise when someone needed to be evacuated, and I found the operation fascinating to watch. However, I feel bad for the person whose vacation was so dramatically interrupted, and I hope that they are recovering well.
 Today was devoted to an all day tour of Copenhagen, on foot, by canal boat, and by bicycle. As luck would have it, we were the only people to book the tour today, so we had our tour guide, the very lovely Inga Maria, all to ourselves. We saw a great deal more of the city, learned a bit about its history, and generally had a really enjoyable day. Inga Maria is originally from Iceland, but knows her adopted home well, and was an absolutely wonderful person to spend the day with.  It turns out that she is going home to Iceland tomorrow, and we may catch up with her again before this trip is over.

Early in our tour, Inga Maria pointed out the police guarding the Synagogue here.  She told us that these would likely be the only police we would see, as there is very little crime here. We also talked about the history of fires in the city, and noted that improved fire safety had served to prevent any further repeats of the runaway fires that had burned down the city from time to time.

Then, just before lunch, as we were walking in front of the Hotel d'Angleterre, a whole bunch of sirens started drawing nearer, and several fire department trucks pulled up and stopped near us. I snapped a few photos before we left the area, but as we were leaving several more trucks drove by in that general direction.



But the real excitement came as we were walking back to our hotel after the tour was finished.  We were waiting to cross Hans Christian Andersen Blvd. when we here a series of loudish pops from down the street.  Within a few minutes, there were dozens of police vehicles racing into the area from every direction. As the police closed down the street, and ambulance rushed towards the cluster of police near the side of the street.  The ambulance was only on scene for a few minutes before it rushed away towards the hospital. When I got back to the hotel, I did a search on the web and discovered that a police officer had apparently shot a man after some type of pursuit. One report indicated that the police were saying that the incident was not terrorism related.



Tomorrow, we head to the cruise port to board the ship that will be our home for the next week. I don't expect to have much internet access during the cruise, so I'll have to post about the cruise when we get home.

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