ANCHORAGE -

The U.S. Coast Guard is crediting a helicopter crew forward-deployed to Barrow with the Wednesday medevac of an injured crewman from a South Korean research icebreaker 250 miles north of the state's Arctic Ocean coastline.

Watchstanders were first informed of the 43-year-old’s head injury aboard the Araon Tuesday afternoon, according to a Coast Guard statement on the rescue released early Thursday.

As the Araon headed south to close the distance with Barrow, the Coast Guard prepared both of the MH-60 Jayhawk crews -- tasked with flying from a forward operating location set to open Thursday -- for the rescue mission. The Coast Guard icebreaker Healy, also in the area, was asked to support communications with the helicopter crews.

“Once the Araon closed the distance to land, both Jayhawk helicopter crews at forward operating location Barrow launched to rendezvous with the icebreaker,” Coast Guard officials wrote. “The aircrews arrived on-scene, safely hoisted the injured man and an accompanying translator, and returned to Barrow.”

According to Coast Guard Operations Specialist 1st Class Amy Canny, the injury occurred as the crewman was working out in an exercise facility aboard the Araon. After being flown to Barrow, he was transported on to Anchorage.

“They needed to get some higher level of care for him,” Canny said.

Coast Guard officials say the number of vessels passing through the Arctic as ice-bound shipping channels open is a key factor in having a Barrow presence.

“Maritime activity in the Arctic has steadily increased during the past several years, and this emergency situation highlights the importance of having a Coast Guard forward operating location in the region,” Capt. Joseph Deer, the 17th District’s chief of incident management, said in the statement.

The Jayhawk crews had been sent to Barrow as part of Arctic Shield 2014, an ongoing exercise this year intended to bolster the Coast Guard’s capabilities in the region and allow it to perform seasonal rescue tasks.