Dawn Princess Captain and Princess Cruises to Personally Thank U.S.S. Ronald Reagan Captain and Crew for Successful Medical Evacuation of Teenage Passenger

Officers and crew of the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and cruise ship Dawn Princess will meet in person for the first time since successfully evacuating and treating a teenage passenger requiring an emergency appendectomy. The crew of Ronald Reagan helped medevac 14-year-old Laura Montero, who suffered from a ruptured appendix while vacationing aboard Dawn Princess sailing off the coast of Baja, Mexico. After a dramatic helicopter transfer to the aircraft carrier, the ship’s surgeon conducted an emergency appendectomy.

The captains of Dawn Princess and USS Ronald Reagan stayed in close contact during the approximate six hours it took to bring the ships within helicopter range during the night. They will meet face-to-face for an official thank you, not only from Princess but also from the teen’s mother. Laura is still recuperating in San Diego.

Sunday, January 6, 2008
11 a.m.

Broadway Pier — Harbor Drive at Broadway
Parking will be available

Press conference attendees include:
# Dawn Princess Captain Marco Fortezze
# USS Ronald Reagan Captain Terry Kraft
# USS Ronald Reagan Strike Group Commander, Rear Admiral James P. Wisecup
# HS-4 “Black Knights” Helicopter Crew
# Captain Charles “Chip” Strangfeld, Commander, Coast Guard Sector San Diego
# Laura Montero’s mother Trudy LaField
# Dawn Princess Officers and Medical Personnel
# Princess Cruises Senior Vice President, Marine Operations Captain George Wright

In a dramatic medical evacuation at sea, 14-year-old Laura Montero of Albion, Ill., was successfully airlifted from Dawn Princess in the early hours of Dec. 15, 2007, to the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN76) where life saving emergency surgery was performed.

The girl was traveling with her family aboard the 2,000-passenger Princess cruise ship when she became seriously ill with appendicitis the evening of Dec. 14. In coordination with the US Coast Guard, contact was made with the USS Ronald Reagan, the Navy’s newest and largest nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. The navy ship was on training maneuvers approximately 500 miles away, and was the closest viable medical option available. It took approximately six hours with the ships heading full speed towards one another to get within helicopter range. Captain Marco Fortezze of Dawn Princess and Captain Terry Kraft of the USS Ronald Reagan stayed in close communication throughout the night.

Once the carrier was within 175 miles of the ship, an onboard HH-60H Seahawk helicopter was dispatched for a MEDEVAC mission. Crews from the two ships worked together to negotiate Laura’s evacuation — she was loaded into a basket and lifted to the helicopter — from the aft deck of Dawn Princess. She was transported to the aircraft carrier’s onboard hospital, where successful surgery was completed.

Laura is recuperating at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego and is expected to return home next week.