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FIRST ON 3: Medical emergency diverts R/V Dan Moore to Florida port; Crew member taken to hospital

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Cape Fear Community College's marine research vessel the R/V Dan Moore will get home at least a day late, after a medical emergency involving a crew member.

A school spokesman says the ship was returning home from 10-day training voyage when first assistant engineer William "Billy" Carlson reported he was experiencing severe chest pain and other heart attack-like symptoms. Capt. Steve Beuth immediately contacted the US Coast Guard to request assistance and changed the ship's course to the nearest port.

The Coast Guard responded by sending a helicopter to the ship to attempt to airlift Carlson. However, due to windy conditions and rough seas up to 18 feet, several airlift attempts proved unsuccessful. The Coast Guard then dropped a diver into the water who swam to the ship to provide medical assistance on the way to port.

The R/V Dan Moore arrived at Port Canaveral at 2:30 a.m., where an ambulance was waiting to take Carlson to a hospital.

The school says Carlson is doing well, but will have to spend a few days in the hospital.

The ship has since resumed training operations. It is expected to arrive back in Wilmington late tomorrow or early Thursday morning.

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