The bus and “Duck” involved in the deadly Aurora Bridge collision 12 hours ago have both just been towed away, and Highway 99 has reopened both ways, SDOT just announced. The investigation into the crash that killed 4 college students will continue Friday with the arrival of a National Transportation Safety Board team.
HIGHWAY 99 TRAFFIC ALERT: Road closure, bus reroutes continue after 4 killed in 4-vehicle crash on Aurora BridgeSeptember 24, 2015 at 11:28 am | In Not WS but we're mentioning it anyway, West Seattle news | 71 Comments
(SCROLL DOWN for the newest information)
11:28 AM: A collision with major injuries reported has blocked the Aurora Bridge both ways. It’s reported to involve a Ride The Ducks vehicle and a bus. That’s likely to be a relatively long-lasting closure so if you use Highway 99, plan an alternate route.
11:55 AM: SFD says two people are dead, nine critically injured, and they are still evaluating people.
SR 99 is closed NB at Western Ave and SB at N 46th St. All traffic must exit. Use alt routes and expect long delays pic.twitter.com/5gqvCACGpa
— seattledot (@seattledot) September 24, 2015
12:42 PM: The city says the traffic effects are likely to last into the evening. The mayor and police chief will be speaking at the scene shortly.
12:49 PM: The mayor, at the news conference happening now, confirms they expect the closure to continue into the evening. Fire Chief Harold Scoggins says 4 people died at the scene and 12 are critically injured; the crash involved not only a charter bus and a Ride The Ducks vehicle but also two cars.
(Added: Seattle Fire Department photo)
1:41 PM: Short updates are now online via SPD Blotter and SFD Fireline (looks like the same info). Because of the transportation effects, we will keep this story pinned atop the WSB home page TFN, but as we publish other, unrelated stories (starting soon), they’ll appear beneath it, so from the home page, just scroll down to see what else is happening.
2:44 PM: Some miscellaneous information that’s also being discussed in comments:
–METRO REROUTES: Latest list is here
–BLOOD DONATIONS: Bloodworks NW says because of so many injuries in this incident, it needs more – go here to find out how to donate
3:31 PM: Still closed, NB from the Western exit, and SB, according to commenter “Cadburry,” reopens just south of the Aurora Bridge. Meanwhile, SPD has issued a short update on its investigation.
5:22 PM: No change in the situation – Aurora Bridge still closed, with Highway 99 closure NB at Western; SB, we’re told you CAN get on starting around lower Queen Anne, south of the bridge. Also, some more bus reroutes – updated info here. And while this is NOT related to the crash, we just got word that the cycles on the signal at 35th/Alaska are apparently running too short and causing a backup on southbound 35th there – we flagged SDOT via Twitter and they say engineers are looking into it.
5:34 PM: SDOT says that’s fixed now; our crew just arrived and verifies that it seems to be OK, no notable backup.
5:50 PM: Briefing expected shortly from the mayor – you can watch live here. Meantime, in another non-related traffic update, a crash is reported at Fauntleroy/Hudson; traffic’s getting by, says our tipster, but barely.
6:05 PM: The briefing is under way, with the mayor, fire chief, police chief. The Aurora Bridge might remain closed until sometime tomorrow, the mayor said. No change in the number of deaths; 15 people are in critical condition. “Too early … to draw any conclusions” about crash’s cause, says Police Chief O’Toole. They’ve set up a hotline for witnesses: 206-233-5000. SDOT director Scott Kubly explains that once the investigators are done, there will be cleanup and bridge inspections among other things before 99 can reopen.
8:28 PM: The closure continues. We’ll shortly remove this from its position stuck atop the WSB home page, and will publish a new story if there’s a change this evening. We’ll of course have traffic/transit coverage first thing in the morning as usual, too.
11:17 PM: The southbound lanes of 99 have reopened, right after the bus and “Duck” were towed. Awaiting word on the northbound lanes.
Know where your nearest Emergency Communication Hub is? Know WHAT your Emergency Communication Hub is? West Seattle has long been a citywide leader in this aspect of preparedness, via West Seattle Be Prepared. And they’re sharing news of a presentation downtown tonight that might interest you. Usually we can only promote on-peninsula events, but preparedness has been a signature issue for us for a long time, and at the heart of this presentation is the reminder that community can be key in case of catastrophe:
Join the Seattle Emergency Communications Hubs and Seattle Fire Dept. Battalion Chief Tom Richardson, one of the Urban Search and Rescue Team Leaders (USAR) at the SR 530 slide, who will share his experience during the response and recovery stages and his thoughts on how communities are key in disasters.
6:30 pm – (Optional) Overview of the Seattle Emergency Hubs
7:00 pm – Program start
8:00 pm – Q & A and discussion
Location: City of Seattle Emergency Operations Center, 105 5th Ave S. (Corner of 5th Ave S and S Washington St)
Please RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 206-233-5076
In the past couple hours, we started getting questions about music/beats audible in north West Seattle for hours – maybe from the beach. Nothing on the calendar; we finally went down to look, nothing in view, but from the Seacrest vicinity, we could hear the beats in the distance. The answer finally came when we put out the open question on Twitter: @SDOT and @romabit pointed out the Dirtybird BBQ concert event in SODO, which had been under way since early afternoon. Just in case you wondered too … now you know.
(Photo taken from southwest West Seattle, by Chris Frankovich)
Maybe you saw the big smoke plume to the south this past hour – we’ve received multiple calls/messages about it. It’s a marina fire in the Tacoma Narrows area – here’s what The News-Tribune is reporting so far. It was so visible from the U.S. Open golf tournament course, we’re told it was mentioned during the broadcast. According to a Pierce County tweet, the fire is at a repair facility.
4:03 PM: Just wanted to mention it in case you’re about to head home or to downtown and are wondering what’s going on: Demonstrators have been marching much of the afternoon but no problems have been reported. Seattle Police are tweeting locations and, when applicable, traffic effects; the best place to monitor is the SPD Twitter account (you don’t have to be a Twitter member to see it) – twitter.com/seattlepd. SDOT is tweeting traffic updates, too.
7:33 PM UPDATE: Now there’s trouble, with what the SPD tweets described as the “unplanned” demonstration. Rock-throwing and window-breaking is reported. They’re facing off with police on Capitol Hill, who have issued a “dispersal order.” As the commute period is over, we’re moving on with other news, but the same links above still apply, as do all the citywide news orgs, and our friends at CapitolHillSeattle.com are tweeting, too:
Spd line at Broadway and Pine pic.twitter.com/TiHfKYIJPM
— jseattle (@jseattle) May 2, 2015
9:43 PM: The city Emergency Operations Center has issued two statements from the mayor – this, just a few minutes ago:
Seattle celebrates free speech, the right to assemble and freedom of the press. People are raising their voices across the nation, working constructively to advance issues of racial equity and justice in our society. During this moment in history, peaceful protest and civil disobedience can be effective vehicles of social change. The City of Seattle prepared extensively to protect the rights of peaceful protesters to express their anger at racism and injustice.
What erupted tonight is a very different story. Tonight we saw assaults on police officers and senseless property damage, which cannot be tolerated. Those who are violent will be arrested. We will work to disperse groups that are threatening the safety of our residents and businesses.
3:37 PM: If you are heading toward downtown any time in the next half-hour or so, either northbound or southbound, note that Highway 99 and I-5 are both being affected by protests right now. We’re still trying to get a clear picture of what’s going on by monitoring scanner and Twitter, but we do know for sure that Highway 99 northbound is closed at the Battery Street Tunnel, with traffic being diverted off at Western. More to come.
3:44 PM: Seattle Times (WSB partner) photojournalist Lindsey Wasson is among the journalists on scene:
— Lindsey Wasson (@lindseywasson) January 19, 2015
KING 5 reports protesters on Mercer near I-5. Via scanner, police are concerned about protesters getting onto Aurora. Journalists who are tweeting in the area confirm there are two separate groups.
4 PM: This is truly a fast-changing situation, but again, right now, avoiding downtown, especially the South Lake Union vicinity, is fairly solid advice. And 99.
pics from #skyking have the protest on both directions of HWY 99 – all lanes in both directions are blocked
— King5TracyT (@King5TracyT) January 19, 2015
— KING 5 News (@KING5Seattle) January 20, 2015
4:21 PM: Police are hoping to be able to reopen 99 soon but the situation remains in flux, especially in the South Lake Union area.
4:23 PM: Per scanner, 99 has just been reopened. The I-5 ramps that were affected by the protest are open again too. But some protesters are still in action on surface streets, police are saying, on Fairview and on Dexter.
fWe’ve been asked about King County Sheriff’s Office sightings at the Fauntleroy ferry dock tonight – not unusual for KCSO personnel to take the ferry, since theirs is the law-enforcement agency for Vashon Island, but the numbers are out of the ordinary. It’s related to a search that is still under way on the island, seeking a driver who rammed the patrol car of a deputy who subsequently opened fire, according to tweets from KCSO spokesperson Sgt. DB Gates.
RE:Vashon incident.Call 911 if you see a 1976 red Ford pickup (no tailgate). Has no rear plate. Possible rear end damage. Don't approach it.
— KingcosoPIO (@kingcosoPIO) January 4, 2015
No injuries known/reported at this point, and there’s no indication the suspect has left the island, but the search, which has included the Guardian One helicopter, continues.
8:55 AM UPDATE: Thanks to Michael and Maggie for noting in comments that KCSO reports the suspect is in custody. (added) Here’s the news release from Sgt. Gates:
Just before 6 PM on Saturday January 3rd, deputies responded to a residence for a domestic violence call between a mother and her adult son. Shortly after this first call we received several more from other citizens reporting different incidents with the same male as from the domestic violence case. These calls included a road rage incident, threats, and a vandalism.
At 6:45 PM a deputy located the suspect in the above incidents driving his pickup and there was a short pursuit . The suspect refused to stop and instead rammed the patrol car several times. In the 9800 block of SW Windmill Road the deputy fired several shots, but the suspect was not hit. The patrol car was disabled from the ramming and the suspect fled in his pickup.
Resident deputies that live on the island were called out to assist in the search for the suspect and patrol resources from the Burien and White Center areas also were sent to the island.
This morning around 4:30 the suspect was located by patrol deputies in the 24600 block of Dockton Road SW where he had broken into an unoccupied house. He attempted to run on foot, a Taser was deployed, and he was taken into custody.
There were no injuries to anyone and detectives are investigating the deputy-involved shooting as well as the other crimes committed by the suspect. The deputy who fired the shots has been placed on administrative leave per our policy.
The suspect will be booked into King County Jail for investigation of felony assault, attempting to elude, and burglary.
11:28 AM: Thanks to Bill Schrier for spotting and sharing this while visiting SODO – the sign for the shuttered, historic Sears store is coming down. “Kind of a nostalgic end of a historic brand in SODO for the last day of 2014,” he observes. We noted the store’s closure announcement last February, primarily because it meant the Rotary Club of West Seattle would have to find someplace new for its annual Children’s Holiday Shopping Spree. (Ultimately, it moved to the Sears store at Southcenter.) As for the fate of the sign and the question of whether anyone’s leased the space yet – we don’t know but are trying to find out. (This might suggest the answer to the latter, at least, is “no.”)
ADDED 12:44 PM: According to the company that owns the building, no new tenant yet, as the Sears lease runs another year.
You might recall that the Albertsons/Safeway deal was expected to result in some stores being shed. Today, the Haggen chain announced it would pick up more than 100 Albertsons and Safeway stores in the West, expanding its holdings from 18 stores to 164. We asked Haggen for the full list, to see if any are in West Seattle/White Center. Answer: No; the two closest stores that will become Haggen stores are south of West Seattle/White Center – the two Albertsons in Burien, 12725 1st Ave. S. and 15840 1st Ave. S.
6:58 PM: Here’s what’s happening in Seattle right now, after the announcement in Ferguson, Missouri, tonight that a grand jury decided not to indict the police officer who shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown:
— Paige Cornwell (@pgcornwell) November 25, 2014
(Photo tweeted by reporter Paige Cornwell of The Seattle Times [WSB partner])
-A protest march is under way in the Westlake Center area downtown. Pine Street is closed between 4th and 5th and might also close to 6th.
-Mayor Ed Murray is planning to meet the media inside City Hall at 7:15 pm, with others listed in the advisory announcement as “Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole, Pamela Banks (Urban League), Pramila Jayapal (state senator-elect), Estela Ortega (El Centro de la Raza) and others.” UPDATE: The mayor’s office says it will be live-streamed here.
-King County Executive and West Seattleite Dow Constantine has sent a written statement:
“We all mourn the loss of a young man’s life. This is a moment to say what is in our hearts, with tolerance, respect, and restraint, as we were asked to do by Michael Brown’s family.
“The events in Ferguson have laid bare the ongoing racial divide that stretches across the breadth of these United States. Here in King County we have made equity and social justice a central tenet of our work — a value that each employee will consciously and daily pursue as we serve the public. Our task now must be to learn from this moment, and to redouble our efforts to create the long-term, systemic changes our nation needs to fulfill its destiny.”
-So far, we have not heard of any gatherings in West Seattle. We will update as the night goes on.
ADDED 7:18 PM: President Obama is speaking. One quote, tweeted:
"We need to recognize that this is not just an issue for #Ferguson. This is an issue for America." —President Obama
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) November 25, 2014
7:26 PM: Mayor Murray waited until after the President’s speech to start his event.
— SEA Mayor's Office (@OfficeofMayor) November 25, 2014
The downtown protest march, meantime, has moved east to Capitol Hill.
7:43 PM: Another Times photo tweeted from the Hill:
— Lindsey Wasson (@lindseywasson) November 25, 2014
And a note from the city:
The Seattle Emergency Operations Center and Joint Information Center closed at 8:45 p.m. The police department continues to provide support for free speech events city-wide.
10:32 PM: Things weren’t quite winding down. Protesters moved on to I-5:
— KING 5 News (@KING5Seattle) November 25, 2014
10:37 PM: Police report some violence:
Individuals in crowd of demonstrators on Madison continue to throw cans and bottles at officers. Some vandalism reported @ 9/Madison.
— Seattle Police Dept. (@SeattlePD) November 25, 2014
10:52 PM: The freeway has reopened. Protesters are reported to be headed back toward Capitol Hill.
11:51 PM: Still there.
— The Stranger (@strangerslog) November 25, 2014
You can of course find endless reporting out there on every scale of what has happened; if you’re looking for a direct link to the transcribed grand-jury proceedings in Missouri, here they are as posted by NYTimes.com.
(Refresh for newest image from WSF camera at Southworth dock)
6:37 PM: Happening in Southworth, but no doubt affecting Fauntleroy ferries: Washington State Ferries says the Southworth dock is closed right now because of “law enforcement activity.” Via Twitter, the Kitsap Sun reports this is a case of a vehicle gone into the water. (You might also see air activity related to this – at least one TV helicopter has headed that way.)
6:55 PM: No one has confirmed whether anyone was in the vehicle, which at least one witness says crashed through the barricade at the dock’s end.
7:20 PM: An update:
Coast guard divers are conducting search/recovery currently. pic.twitter.com/iOTKHmi7wa
— Trooper Russ Winger (@wspd8pio) October 4, 2014
The vehicle is in 60 feet of water.
7:47 PM: WSP says the body of the vehicle’s driver, who was believed to be in it alone, has been recovered. SFD divers are reported to have assisted.
8:01 PM: WSF projects it will be a few hours before the dock reopens – which won’t happen, they say, until the vehicle is pulled from the water. In the meantime, ferries are running only between Fauntleroy and Vashon, and the Seattle-Bremerton run from Colman Dock downtown is recommended as a detour for those trying to get to Kitsap County.
9:40 PM: WSF says the Southworth dock likely will be closed until morning.
11:06 PM: The vehicle has been pulled from the water. Christine Clarridge from The Seattle Times (WSB partner) tweeted a photo and describes the vehicle as a silver Ford Escape.
11:25 PM: WSF says the dock is open again and service to Southworth restored.
Fire in fremont pic.twitter.com/2Gi4rQ9Du2
— toddbishop (@toddbishop) September 30, 2014
(Photo tweeted by Todd Bishop of GeekWire)
We’re getting some questions because the black column of smoke is visible from here, looking north/northeast. The SFD 911 log lists the address as 434 N. 35th (map) in Fremont. Two-alarm fire, according to SFD. For more information and photos, we refer you to our friends at KING5.com.
King County International Airport – better known to most as Boeing Field – will be the scene of two “mass-casualty-incident drills” each of the next five weekdays, and since you might notice all the emergency vehicles in the area, this is a heads-up. As the official announcement put it, “Because officials are trying to create a realistic response, the media is asked to help us notify the public that this is only a drill … and is a potential visual distraction.” Boeing Field isn’t that far from eastern West Seattle, and past drills have caught notice and brought questions here, so we’re sharing the alert too – click ahead for the details (quoted from the advisory sent to us and other media in the region):
Click to read the rest of THIS IS ONLY A DRILL: Boeing Field emergency drills all week, starting tomorrow…
— Clark Gilbert (@coachclarkruns) September 11, 2014
Lots of questions about black smoke visible downtown, looking across from here. 911 log shows an apartment-building fire on Capitol Hill, in the 300 block of Bellevue Ave. E. (map). Firefighters are there.
12:09 PM: *Not* a huge fire, despite all that smoke – it’s already described over the scanner as “knocked down,” and “confined to a deck on the roof.”
12:30 PM: Thanks to everyone who sent photos/asked questions – when something is so visible from here, even if it’s not happening *in* WS, we’ll always try to get information as fast as we can, and tips are almost always how we get first word. No injuries reported so far.
P.S. For any further updates, check back with our friends at CapitolHillSeattle.com.
9:37 AM: If you have a west-facing view and noticed the smoke by the Southworth ferry dock, it’s a house fire, according to a tweet from the Kitsap Sun. We got a call about it (thank you!) and are photographing the smoke from Constellation Park.
10:29 AM: The Sun reports firefighters say it’s “knocked down.” No other details yet but it is indeed close to the dock, according to this photo tweeted by a passenger:
House on fire from Southworth Ferry Terminal, WA. pic.twitter.com/MtsdUWzugz
— Jim Emery (@jimery) August 18, 2014
12:53 PM: Here’s the Kitsap Sun’s full story, plus a photo sent to us by Mark Dale:
Remembering Robin Williams: His West Seattle Food Bank benefits; also – how to get help if you need itAugust 11, 2014 at 6:05 pm | In Not WS but we're mentioning it anyway, West Seattle news | 17 Comments
You have likely heard by now that actor/comedian Robin Williams is gone too soon, at 63, found dead in his San Francisco Bay Area home this afternoon, believed to be a victim of suicide.
Two things we wanted to mention here:
(Photo courtesy WSFB, added Tuesday: Mr. Williams in 2004 with WSFB volunteers Aaron & Laurie and then-operations manager Gretchen)
First, Mr. Williams had at least one West Seattle connection – a history of generous gifts to the West Seattle Food Bank, most notably, more than $50,000 in proceeds from downtown performances in 2004, 2007, and 2008.
Second, we wanted to again share the local hotline number that offers help to anyone thinking about suicide (or experiencing other crisis situations), the Crisis Clinic – 206-461-3222. The CC website also recommends reading this.
Two people have texted us to ask about a big cloud/smoke plume in the east.
— Richard Anderson (@scruffydiver) July 16, 2014
ADDED 6:25 PM: Here’s a somewhat-closer look from David Hutchinson:
ADDED LATE WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Ted Johnson shared this view from the EC Hughes Playground area:
The latest highway closures are here.
4:50 PM: With many West Seattleites commuting through SODO one way or another, this seems worth a mention: There’s been a shooting at/near the SODO transit station, 5th/Lander, and it involved a King County Sheriff’s Deputy. No other details yet, and we haven’t seen word from Metro or Sound Transit yet on how/if this is affecting routes, but just an FYI. Also, if you are in North Delridge and noticed the major response of northbound SPD units from the precinct (we were in the area and saw half a dozen head north, full lights/sirens), that apparently is what they were headed for, though the response downsized shortly afterward; one texter says this brought helicopters (TV, we believe) to the SODO area near 99, too.
5 PM UPDATE: Metro has sent a text alert saying that buses are routed off the SODO Busway and off S. Holgate in that area – “use busway stops north of S. Holgate or south of S. Lander.” Sound Transit also has tweeted that Central Link light rail service is interrupted.
5:30 PM UPDATE: Both KCSO and Seattle Fire say one person, described by SFD only as “male” and by KCSO as a “suspect,” was declared dead at the scene. Sound Transit has sent an updated rider alert – see it here; Metro now says its busway reroute starts at Royal Brougham.
5:45 PM UPDATE: Per our partners at The Seattle Times, the shooting started as a confrontation involving an unarmed fare-enforcement officer, who called for backup, and the deadly shot(s) came from an armed deputy who was among those responding.
9:29 PM UPDATE: Sound Transit says normal operation has resumed.
7:49 PM: Since this might not be a time of day when you usually check out regional news outlets, we’re mentioning this too: I-5 southbound is closed at the Ship Canal Bridge because of a law-enforcement investigation. Vehicles that were on the bridge at the time are being turned around and cleared off, and radio discussion indicates it’ll be closed for quite a while. So if you are headed this way from north of downtown, make your way to 99, or else way over to 405 and 90. The investigation involves an incident reported to have started as a vehicle fire on that bridge and turned into a state trooper shooting a man – details are still emerging.
8:01 PM: WSDOT has opened the southbound I-5 express lanes to help with the traffic backlog.
10:07 PM: State Patrol tweeted a few minutes ago that the closure isn’t ending any time soon:
The incident on the Ship Canal covers all lanes and is very extensive. Expect the road to remain closed for several more hours.
— Trooper Chris Webb (@wspd2pio) June 17, 2014
11:48 PM: That turned out not to be the case. Just reopened:
South bound I-5 at the Ship Canal bridge has reopened for normal traffic following the earlier investigation.
— Seattle Police Dept. (@SeattlePD) June 17, 2014
Not in West Seattle, but you should know: Multiple shooting victims at Seattle Pacific University, suspect in custodyJune 5, 2014 at 4:03 pm | In Not WS but we're mentioning it anyway, West Seattle news | 33 Comments
4:03 PM: A situation in lower north Queen Anne/west of Fremont is affecting emergency resources citywide, so we want to mention it here just to make sure you know – especially in case that’s an area of town you were planning to head to or from any time soon – Multiple people have been shot at Seattle Pacific University. Reports so far have put the number of victims as high as 7 (at least one with life-threatening injuries), and conflicting reports of one or two shooters – with at least one suspect in custody. The only thing clear is that, as just described on emergency radio, it’s a “chaotic” scene and you will want to stay far from that area for hours to come. Our partners at The Seattle Times are covering it here (and every other regional source is on it too).
4:10 PM: From SPD: “The suspect is in custody. There are no outstanding suspects being sought.”
4:30 PM: And one more police update: “1 man, 1 woman with life-threatening injuries; 1 man, 1 woman in stable condition.”
5:10 PM: One of the victims has died. SPU has canceled classes this evening.
11:30 PM: Since discussion is still going on in comments here, we’ll add a few links before the night’s out:
(LATEST: KOMO helicopter crash victims identified; federal investigators on scene)
(Photo courtesy Jennifer, taken from crane in the area)
7:51 AM: If you are headed downtown, stay far away from the Seattle Center area – a helicopter is reported to have crashed, and there are fires on the ground, including at least two cars. KING and KOMO TV report it is a helicopter they use in a partnership – both of them are located in the area, KOMO right across the street from Seattle Center. Scanner indicates at least one person injured on the ground.
7:59 AM: Video uploaded by Alex McBurney shows the fire likely moments after it happened. Firefighters at the scene are working on extinguishing the fire as well as getting to any patients. Scanner also indicates authorities are now notifying aviation authorities – NTSB, FAA. We have heard discussion of one person hurt but have not heard other news of casualties. All regional news sources are of course covering this – we just want to reiterate, stay away from that area. We haven’t heard yet the full parameters of what’s blocked off, but Broad Street, 4th and 5th in that area for sure. For context, see the photo in this tweet by Seattle Times (WSB partner) reporter Brian Rosenthal - note the 5th/Broad McDonald’s in the background:
A helicopter appears to have crashed into two cars just outside the Space Needle. Massive police and fire response. pic.twitter.com/PPm8WfAVFF
— Brian M. Rosenthal (@brianmrosenthal) March 18, 2014
Street closures will continue for hours, if not – as one TV anchor just suggested – days. The helicopter is widely reported to belong to KOMO, which is right across Broad St. from the south side of the Needle.
8:16 AM: Seattle Fire has just tweeted that two people are confirmed dead at the scene. You can follow SFD’s Twitter stream here; SPD’s Twitter stream here. (You don’t need to be a Twitter user to see tweets via the web.)
9:33 AM: During a news conference just before 9 am, SFD confirmed that the people who died were both on the helicopter. One person hit on the ground is in the hospital. And they are still looking for someone who got out of their pickup truck and left the scene, just wanting to make sure s/he is OK. Your editor here worked at KOMO 1991-1999 and like everyone else sends thoughts and prayers to the families, friends, and co-workers of the victims, who have not yet been publicly identified. We’re moving on with today’s West Seattle news – the regional news outlets are all over this; just again keep in mind that the area will be closed to traffic, likely into tomorrow, so if you have to go anywhere near Seattle Center/Space Needle, expect detours. We will update our daily traffic watch if there are any official overviews on those.
10:18 AM: Mayor Murray will have a news conference at 10:30 – you should be able to see it live at seattlechannel.org. Meantime, apologies if you have had trouble getting into our site – interest in this story brought in a traffic crush; our server managers have opened a few more floodgates so it should be more accessible.
10:57 AM: The Times quotes KOMO as identifying one of the victims as longtime photojournalist Bill Strothman. Longtime KOMO anchor/reporter Connie Thompson (a West Seattleite) remembers him in a tweet:
So many fond memories Bill Strothman. So many adventures. Our hearts break more than words can express. pic.twitter.com/0JJLEnCGXU
— Connie Thompson (@ConnieKOMO) March 18, 2014
The pilot has been identified (update) as Gary Pfitzner. Here is a KOMO story about them.
LATE-NIGHT NOTE: All the roads in the area reopened by 7 pm, less than 12 hours after the crash, according to SDOT.
4:42 PM: Just got a call from someone asking about the smoke visible from Harbor Avenue, looking across the bay. There’s a big fire in the International District; the address on the SFD 911 log is 669 S. King Street. Here’s one of the photos SFD has tweeted:
Firefighters are fighting this as a defensive fire due to it being an abandoned building pic.twitter.com/WJWCT5KRev
— Seattle Fire Dept (@SeattleFire) December 25, 2013
8:39 PM UPDATE: Updated the Times link in the preceding paragraph – they now have a longer story elsewhere on their site. Also of note, West Seattle fire crews are assisting, per radio communication and the online 911 log, including Ladder 11, whose crew we had photographed earlier today assisting police on Genesee Hill, as well as Engine 11 from Highland Park and Engine 32 from The Junction.
WEDNESDAY MORNING NOTE: SFD published an update overnight; the fire wasn’t under control until almost 10:30 pm.
ORIGINAL FRIDAY REPORT: In case you hadn’t heard yet – President Obama is coming to Seattle on Sunday for political fundraisers, report citywide outlets including The Seattle Times (WSB partner), and that generally means two things for our area: Possible Air Force One sightings, and potential traffic effects when I-5 is closed for the motorcade. We don’t have specific times so far, but his first event will be in North Seattle, second one in Medina, and there’s at least one indication he’s staying downtown until Monday morning. Whatever we know by Sunday morning, we’ll include in our daily preview.
ADDED SATURDAY AFTERNOON: We now know that the President is due to arrive after 4 pm, and is indeed staying overnight, leaving Monday morning for San Francisco. Interestingly, Air Force One will not be at Boeing Field as usual – the official Presidential schedule says he is flying into and out of Sea-Tac.
ADDED SUNDAY MORNING: SPD has published details of closures/detours downtown while the President is staying overnight.
SUNDAY AFTERNOON: The President arrived on schedule and as of this update – 4:30 pm – is or will shortly be in transit to North Seattle for the first of the two private Democratic Party fundraisers he’s headlining (the second one is in Medina).
(Photos by Christina Chacharon)
In case you haven’t seen it for yourself yet, shining alongside the West Seattle Bridge ramps to/from I-5, there it is – the brand-new “R” atop the old Rainier Brewery. West Seattle photographer Christina Chacharon was among those at last night’s gala unveiling, which even included a “Batman”-style call into the clouds … er, fog:
After almost half a century, the old “R” (now on display at the Museum of History and Industry) came down 13 years ago, succeeded by a big green “T” for Tully’s Coffee. The newly installed replica, funded via a partnership between Rainier Beer’s owner Pabst and Columbia Distributing, weighs more than half a ton, has 235 light bulbs on each side, and is being permanently welded into place today.
Thanks to Joan for the reminder that the state is midway through a public-comment period on whether to charge tolls on the I-90 bridge, so if you have an opinion, now’s the time to share it. This week, there are two public meetings – 4:30-7:30 pm tomorrow at Mercer Island High School, 4-7 pm Wednesday at the Northwest African American School in Seattle. Full details on both are on this page, along with links where you can sign up NOW to speak at either meeting. You can also comment by e-mail: email@example.com.
Tolling has been proposed on I-90 to, in part, raise money for the new 520 bridge; this PDF includes more on this round of the comment process as well as the options that are under consideration – not with price tags, but with configurations, such as “just toll from Seattle to Mercer Island” or “just toll the HOV lanes.” This round of commenting runs through November 6th; a final decision is expected in 2015.
A situation on south Vashon Island shut down state-ferry traffic on that end of the island for hours, leading to heavier traffic on the north end, which handles ferries from Fauntleroy and Southworth. The King County Sheriff’s Office says this is what happened:
At about 11:15 A.M. today, the words of a suspected mentally ill man halted ferry traffic between Point Defiance and the Tahlequah ferry terminal on Vashon Island. A witness overheard a 48 year old Vashon Island man rambling about having explosives and wanting to detonate the explosive after a particular car disembarked the boat.
All contents copyright 2005-2015, A Drink of Water and a Story Interactive. Here's how to contact us.
Header image by Nick Adams. ABSOLUTELY NO WSB PHOTO REUSE WITHOUT SITE OWNERS' PERMISSION.
Entries and comments feeds. ^Top^