Update: 1 man dies after 4 rescued from capsized boat off South Alki

(New photo courtesy Chaucer Wells Photography – that’s the capsized boat on the left)
2:21 PM: We’re on our way to South Alki, where the U.S. Coast Guard is helping a small vessel that’s in trouble. Thanks to Sally and Steve for the original tip.

2:31 PM: TV helicopter is hovering over the water – thanks for the texts about that. It’s extremely windy out here, too. No official information yet but Sally and Steve had texted that it appeared some people had transferred from the private vessel to the Coast Guard boat.

2:38 PM: Scanner traffic says three people have been rescued and they’re looking for one more. Beach Drive is closed along Constellation Park for the rescue operations’ shore component.

(Photo by Christopher Boffoli for WSB)
Two helicopters are now in the area. The boat is capsized, we can see from shore.

(Updated photo courtesy Chaucer Wells Photography: USCG helicopter dropping diver into the water)
3:00 PM: Divers are in the water and reporting that they have “recovered one victim from the vessel.” We have also heard a report that two of the three people rescued will be admitted to the hospital, while the third declined treatment.

(This photo and next two, by Christopher Boffoli for WSB)
3:17 PM: Seattle Fire says the patient recovered from the water is “unconscious and unresponsive” and had been in for about half an hour. He is reported to be undergoing CPR while being taken to Harborview Medical Center.

3:39 PM: Our remaining crew at Alki Point says the Coast Guard is leaving with the capsized boat. Beach Drive is open again at the scene. We’ll be adding more photos, as well as updates as we get them.

4:25 PM UPDATE: Via Twitter, SFD says five people were on the boat. Their fireboat Chief Seattle (above) was part of the search/rescue off Constellation Park, as was a Seattle Police Harbor Patrol boat (at right, below).

4:54 PM UPDATE: The capsized boat was towed to Don Armeni – this photo was shared by Patrick Binns:

Thank you to all the readers who shared photos and texts/calls as this unfolded. To get a sense of just how windy and choppy it was at the time, check out this brief clip by WSB contributing photojournalist Christopher Boffoli:

6:08 PM UPDATE: We just talked with Kyle Moore from Seattle Fire, whose Station 14-based divers rescued the captain of the boat, found in the wheelhouse somewhere between half an hour to an hour after the boat flipped. Moore says the captain remains in critical condition; the other three admitted to the hospital are satisfactory. He says the Coast Guard is the agency that mentioned a fifth person rescued – SFD never saw or treated that person, so Moore has no further details. USCG had taken the other three to Fire Station 5 downtown after rescuing them before SFD was even called in to join the search. Still no official word on exactly whose boat it was and what it was doing.

12:58 AM: As noted in comments, our partners at The Seattle Times report that the man who was pulled out by divers didn’t make it. The Times reports that the boat and its crew were from Ballard Marine Construction, doing survey work when this happened.

31 Replies to "Update: 1 man dies after 4 rescued from capsized boat off South Alki"

  • R November 15, 2013 (2:46 pm)

    Live feed from KIRO’s helocopter

  • R November 15, 2013 (2:58 pm)

    Just saw divers from fireboat enter water to check under boat.

  • R November 15, 2013 (3:01 pm)

    Overheard report that diver has recovered one victim on scanner.

  • R November 15, 2013 (3:03 pm)

    Now talking about flying victim to Harborview,

  • R November 15, 2013 (3:14 pm)

    One adult male en-route to Harborview on CG Helocopter.

  • R November 15, 2013 (3:24 pm)

    Probably a fatal incident, patient/victim was receiving CPR on Harborview helipad before being taking in to ER.

  • mrsB November 15, 2013 (3:33 pm)

    Beach Drive has reopened as of 10 minutes or so ago…

  • ScubaFrog November 15, 2013 (3:38 pm)

    Prayers and high hopes to the victim en route to Harborview. Grateful for the recovery of the victims.

  • Alki Resident November 15, 2013 (11:21 pm)

    RIP, prayers to the friends and family.

  • G November 15, 2013 (11:25 pm)

    Update he didn’t make it- May he RIP!!!

  • Greta November 15, 2013 (11:29 pm)

    Seattle Times reported at 9:46 pm that one died. Guessing it was the captain (I don’t pay for their subscription so just read the headline.)

  • Chuck and Sally's Van Man November 16, 2013 (1:08 am)

    Prayers to the family. And why was the comment period on this closed earlier? Seemed very odd.

    • WSB November 16, 2013 (1:23 am)

      C&S, it was a technical problem I wasn’t aware of until a kind reader e-mailed me – from this incident until about 11:30 pm tonight, I was in almost constant motion, and therefore didn’t even notice. If the signal is slow while a story is updating – usually something that happens while working in the field – the story might drop the “comments enabled” checkbox which otherwise is checked by default. It’s rare but I would usually catch it because it would happen when a story was too new for any comments, and therefore COMMENTS OFF would display beneath the headline. In this case, it happened during an update after seven comments, and I was too busy to even wonder why no one had commented since 3:40 or so – until reader Steve’s note a couple hours later. We deal with hundreds of e-mails daily at editor@westseattleblog.com and “how come …” or “this looks weird” questions/observations are always welcome … TR

  • Melinda November 16, 2013 (2:10 am)

    RIP Captain!

  • ScubaFrog November 16, 2013 (2:28 am)

    SFD says that there were 5 people on board. 3 were rescued, 1 perished (RIP), and 1 is missing?

    Prayers to the family, how sad.

    • WSB November 16, 2013 (8:13 am)

      Scuba – there is NOT believed to be anyone missing – I think the fifth person was possibly a case of information confusion between the agencies involved; the Times, whose reporter made contact last night with the boat’s owner/crew’s employer (follow the link toward the end of the story here), seems to have settled on 4 crew members total. – TR

  • Melinda November 16, 2013 (4:34 am)

    RIP Captain.

  • Steve November 16, 2013 (6:53 am)

    Condolences to the family of the victim.

    I watched it all unfold and it was a nasty afternoon…big waves and wind. I felt sorry for the crew in the Seattle Police boat…that boat was not built for those kind of conditions and was tossed around like a toy. SPD might look into getting a little bigger boat as the one they were using looked more appropriate for lakes, not open conditions on the Sound.

  • 2 Much Whine November 16, 2013 (7:50 am)

    I thought perhaps someone was being insensitive to the family with inappropriate comments of fault or neglect. I wondered as well and was going to applaud the WSB for being sensitive and ethical in a world where we don’t always see that. Now that I know it’s just a technical glitch I feel much better knowing that my fellow West Seattleites are equally as sensitive. I’m sorry I doubted you all. With that being said, prayers and condolences to the family.

  • ttt November 16, 2013 (8:42 am)

    Since it sounds like the victims pulled from the water has died, I think it would be respectful to the family to pull the picture of the coast guard hoisting him to the helicopter off your page.

  • Lisa November 16, 2013 (9:04 am)

    I am sad the captain died. I had high hopes when we saw the coast guard rescue.

    WSB – could you find out what sort of project Ballard Marine Construction was working on? I hope there are no plans to build anything off the point. Though I suppose they could have been somewhere else surveying and just got into trouble on their way by.

    Also, I wonder why the boat capsized. It was a big boat. I don’t know anything about boats and what makes them capsize, but I am surprised such a large boat did that, even in choppy weather.



  • Lisa November 16, 2013 (9:08 am)

    Also, I must say, the response from police, fire and Coast Guard was truly impressive. They got 3 people out of the water very fast, and they rescued the 4th in very confusing rough conditions. The photo of the scuba diver being lowered is an amazing image. Those people are very brave.

  • megan November 16, 2013 (9:27 am)

    Does anyone know if vessel was a sailboat?

    • WSB November 16, 2013 (9:34 am)

      If you follow the link to the Times, they describe the type of work that was being done, and the company that owned it.

  • cjboffoli November 16, 2013 (9:37 am)

    Megan: You can see the hull of the overturned vessel in the 5th and 7th images. There is no keel sticking up as a sailboat would have. It was a powerboat with what looked like twin outboard engines at the rear.

  • Eddie November 16, 2013 (9:58 am)

    I listened to this unfold on both the police and fire frequencies (but didn’t have the coast guard up on the scanner). At the time I commented more than a couple times that it sure sounded like there was confusion and difficult communication between SPD and SFD and the CG.

  • ltfd November 16, 2013 (10:01 am)

    RIP to the vessel operator who lost his life.
    1. Ballard Marine Construction members were performing an underwater survey related to outfall installations in the area of Alki Point (i.e. sewage & storm water discharge)- there is a water treatment plant onshore there.
    2. The “scuba diver being lowered” was the Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer assigned to the Port Angeles based helicopter. Coast Guard directives prohibit their personnel (Rescue Swimmers or ship-based scuba divers) from entering overturned or submerged vessels- though sweeping underneath /into a vessel with one arm is allowed while maintaining a handhold on the exterior of the vessel in question.
    3. The dive team (in this case Fire Department, but SPD Harbor Patrol divers would have done the same)took a significant risk going underneath & into the overturned vessel. The vessel movement (due to sea state & wind), attached lines (rope, air hoses, electrical cords, etc.), and miscellaneous loose equipment made it a very hazardous activity.

    • WSB November 16, 2013 (10:13 am)

      Thank you, ltfd. I was just scouring Ballard Marine Construction’s website because it didn’t seem likely this was a private project, just off a park/marine reserve, and I had landed on a page that mentioned in passing that they do/have done King County outfall surveys. Lots of work right now around stormwater. SFD spokesperson Kyle did go into a little more detail during our conversation last night regarding why they went in – there was a chance of an air pocket, and indeed, it seemed they found there was one.
      Also, to the commenter who suggested removing one of the photos, I have done so. I would not have published it in the first place if I had realized that zooming way in would show a portion of the victim’s face – we take great care, far more than legacy media, to not show people who are injured, being treated, etc., and at the display size, the victim was mostly hidden behind the diver handling him. The one thing I did appreciate about that image and don’t think I have a substitute for, is that it shows the difficult and in this case extremely close-up work that the rescuers have to do. – TR

  • cjboffoli November 16, 2013 (10:14 am)

    Here is a higher-resolution image of the SFD divers in the water near the bow of the overturned vessel:


  • Brian November 16, 2013 (10:52 am)

    Looks like another five company, Sterling Marine, is on hand this morning to salvage the boat. Sad day for the diving community.

    • WSB November 16, 2013 (11:56 am)

      We checked that out earlier this morning and will have a followup a bit later.

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