Amazon.com founder and new Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos was flown from the Galápagos by an Ecuadorean navy helicopter after suffering a kidney stone attack on New Year's day.
In response to an emailed request for comment by CNBC following initial reports of the rescue, a company spokesman replied, "I sent this inquiry to Jeff and here's what he sent back: 'Galapagos: five stars. Kidney stones: zero stars.'"
The Galápagos Digital website first relayed local media reports that Bezos was flown from Academy Bay in Santa Cruz Island, where he was aboard a cruise ship, to his private jet on Baltra Island. He was then taken to the U.S. for emergency treatment.
According to Reuters, Ecuador's navy said Bezos was traveling between the islands of Floreana and Santa Cruz, both famed for their wildlife, when the attack struck in the mid-afternoon.
A navy helicopter met the ship at Santa Cruz and flew him about 20 miles to his private jet.
"He had to be attended to in the shortest possible time," the statement said. The Galapagos lie about 600 miles west off the Ecuadorean coast.
Juan Carlos Ibarra, a lieutenant with the navy's air force, was the helicopter pilot who flew the airlift.
"They informed us when the ship was arriving in Academy Bay at Santa Cruz island," Ibarra told Reuters by telephone.
"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 said in its statement that Ibarra, as well as the helicopter co-pilot and flight engineer, had received messages of thanks from the relatives and associates of Bezos, whom it described as "such a prestigious, world famous businessman".
—By CNBC.com and Reuters