CAF and CalvinAir Helicopters Evacuates Old Road Fisherman Suffering from “the Bends” to Guadeloupe


CAF and CalvinAir Helicopters Evacuates Old Road Fisherman Suffering from “the Bends” to Guadeloupe


St. John’s, Antigua: Monday, March 06, 2023:  A 53-year-old, Old Road fisherman is currently undergoing hyperbaric treatment for decompression sickness at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire (University Hospital Center) in Guadeloupe, after being medically evacuated to the neighbouring island by CalvinAir Helicopters.

According to the patient’s wife, Skeeter, her husband Clive Pelle, returned from “sea” last Tuesday evening, complaining of pains and numbness in his left shoulder. When the symptoms – which typically include fatigue, joint and muscle aches, or pain, clouded thinking and numbness – began affecting his hands and legs, they sought medical attention at the Sir Lester Bird Medical Center. Doctors there diagnosed him with decompression sickness, commonly known as “the bends.”

Decompression sickness results from inadequate reduction in air pressure, following exposure to increased pressure.

When nitrogen bubbles enter the nervous system, serious complications can occur.

If the symptoms go untreated, paralysis or even death are possible.

To prevent decompression sickness, most divers make a safety stop for a few minutes before ascending to the surface to ensure that the body has time to adjust to the change in pressure.

Knowing that the sooner the treatment of an injury begins, the better the chance for a full recovery, Dr. Benjamin Bridge reached out to the Calvin Ayre Foundation’s Jamilla Kirwan, on Thursday, March 02nd requesting the urgent evacuation to neighbouring Guadeloupe for treatment.

CalvinAir Helicopters was mobilized in quick time and made the life-saving half-hour flight to Guadeloupe that afternoon.

According to Clive’s son, Richie Pelle, the family was unsure of how his father’s travel and treatment would have been facilitated and expressed thanks to the Calvin Ayre Foundation for its assistance in their time of need.

“To be honest, when we heard about what happened to him (Clive), we didn’t know how any of this was going to get done. I just want to say thank you to the Calvin Ayre Foundation for really coming through for us.”

Dr. Bridge also expressed his gratitude for the prompt response of the Foundation to fund the medical airlift in such quick time.

“This was a serious situation where someone needed the hyperbaric chamber. We contacted them (CAF) on Thursday morning and within hours they were able to help.”

An update from Dr. Bridge on Monday stated that Clive was able to walk a little on his own but has a few more days of treatment before he can return home.

Ayre Group’s Media Relations Specialist, Jamilla Kirwan wishes to extend best wishes and speedy recovery on behalf of Ambassador Calvin Ayre, the Calvin Ayre Foundation, CalvinAir Helicopters, and the Ayre Group of companies.

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  1. Thank you Calvin foundation.
    Hope there is a full recovery…

    But wait what happen to airforce one at ABDF?

  2. What has happened to the hyperbaric chamber to treat “bends” that was installed at the Mount St. John’s Medical Center a few years ago?

  3. Thank you Mr. Eyre for making your helicopter available to carry our fisherman brother to Guadeloupe to receive lifesaving medical care. I remember a friend and fisheman brother of mine in Grenada died at our hospital right in front of us for the very same reason. He got the “bends” and there was no hyperbaric chamber on island and unfortunately he couldn’t be flown to where there was one.
    As Antiguans and Barbudans we must find a permanent solution to this issue as in many ways our Fisher folk are the very backbone of our quest to feed ourselves, their families and to also provide for the tourists who grace our shores. Again thank you Mr. Eyre and we wish our fisherman brother a speedy full recovery.

  4. blessings and more blessings

    Antigua welcomes gift of Hyperbaric Chamber
    February 14, 2018
    A Hyperbaric Chamber was officially handed over to the Ministry of Health by the Calvin Ayre Foundation and came about after the decompression sickness (the bends) death of a local fisherman and diver, Andy Samuel back in 2017.

    Friends of the deceased testified on Tuesday that they approached Calvin Ayre, on the need for a Hyperbaric Chamber on the island, which he readily agreed to purchase for the country.
    The Ministry of Health today hailed as a “milestone in Antigua and Barbuda’s medical history” the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy for the first time. The technology was at the Mount St. John’s Medical Center during the early hours of the morning on Monday, August 1st, 2018. The hyperbaric oxygen therapy was used to treat decompression sickness, commonly known as “the bends”, in a 27-year-old diver from Urlings Village


  6. The Hyperbaric chamber was donated to Mount St. John’s years ago but unfortunately no one is trained to use it.

  7. A person has the Bends and had to be transported to Guadeloupe for treatment. Where is the man who has responsibility as the Minister for Health? Get the equipment at the Hospital in working conditions now. Maybe the Sir should be removed from you as done to Stanford.

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