ConocoPhillips employees save 19-year-old cardiac arrest victim

By Vilde Fagerland 

Offshore Installation Manager Magnar Hellevik and HSE Coordinator Gunhild Kvinen recently received 2021 Lifesaver SPIRIT Awards for saving a 19-year-old man who suffered cardiac arrest at sea.

What happened?

In April 2020, a crew member on a Danish offshore vessel lapsed into cardiac arrest.

The vessel was located outside of Norway waters in the United Kingdom sector of the North Sea. At the time, UK authorities were unable to assist with a rescue.

Offshore Installation Manager Magnar Hellevik mobilized ConocoPhillips' search-and-rescue team.

Heeding the distress call, Magnar mobilized ConocoPhillips’ search-and-rescue (SAR) team.

After reaching the vessel, the SAR team — consisting of an anesthetic nurse, Gunhild, two pilots, a winch operator and a rescue worker — took over the ongoing first-aid efforts.

‘Clinically dead’

The team stabilized the young man and transported him to a hospital in Aberdeen, Scotland.

He had been clinically dead for about 100 minutes.

However, thanks to the actions of Magnar, Gunhild, the SAR team and the man’s colleagues — the 19 year old survived.

He was in a coma for several days, but after intensive care and several surgeries he has recovered and is back at his job.

Gunhild Kvinen is a health, safety and environmental coordinator for ConocoPhillips. She is also a member of the company’s search-and-rescue team that operates in the southern North Sea.

“The vessel crew had been giving cardiac pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) for over one hour when we arrived,” Gunhild said. “It is out of the ordinary to have such a good outcome from a long-lasting cardiac arrest. This shows the importance of CPR learning and training. In this case, it made a lifesaving difference. The patient has returned to his fulltime job, and that says it all to me.”

On alert in the North Sea

The SAR team is part of an emergency response preparedness system in the Greater Ekofisk Area.

Operated by ConocoPhillips, the team responds to incidents in the southern North Sea, including ones involving other operators.

The team helps during emergency situations where rescue personnel, a lift and a lift operator are needed to save lives.

The team, which regularly takes part in major exercise scenarios, is trained to handle challenging situations and conditions.

Two search-and-rescue helicopters are always on stand-by in the Greater Ekofisk-Area. When the alarm goes off, the SAR team has 15 minutes to mobilize in daytime and 30 minutes at night.

In addition to its offshore SAR team, ConocoPhillips has onshore resources on standby, including doctors, nurses and other support personnel, to help during emergencies.