2014 has not been kind to Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, who had a kidney stone attack.
According to reports from local newspapers in Ecuador, Bezos suffered from a kidney stone attack in the Galapagos Islands on January 1 and had to be flown from a cruise ship by an Ecuadorian navy helicopter.
Bezos was aboard a cruise ship travelling between the islands of Floreana and Santa Cruz when the attack struck mid-afternoon. Ecuador's navy said in a statement that a navy helicopter met the cruise ship at Santa Cruz and flew Bezos to his private jet on nearby Baltra island about 20 miles away. From there, he was flown to the U.S. for emergency treatment.
"They informed us when the ship was arriving in Academy Bay at Santa Cruz island," Juan Carlos Ibarra, a lieutenant with the navy's air force who flew the helicopter said. "We landed our helicopter on a football pitch there ... they told us that a doctor had already gone in boat to treat him onboard the yacht [...] They stabilized him and took him to the United States. He was conscious, but he was on a drip."
The navy also reported that Bezos' family and business associates already had sent messages of thanks for the quick rescue. "The TNNV-AV Juan Ibarra, TNNV-AV German Quishepe and SGOP William Altamirano, crewmembers of the helicopter, received messages of thanks from the families and close collaborators of the businessman with worldwide fame for the timely action and demonstrated professionalism," it said in a statement. "When seconds make a difference to save a human life in the Insular Area, the Ecuadoran Navy fulfills its task, ensuring the safety of the residents, national and international tourists while they are in the Galapagos Archipelagos."
Bezos is the 19th richest person in the world with a net estimated worth of $25 billion, according to Forbes magazine. From founding Amazon in his garage near Seattle in 1994, Bezos managed to build the online bookseller into the world's largest online retailer. Last year, he also purhased Washington Post newspaper.
When asked about Bezos' health, a spokesman for Amazon replied, "I sent this inquiry to Jeff and here's what he sent back: "Galapagos: five stars. Kidney stones: zero stars"."