Update: Helicopter search off Alki Point = false alarm

helicopterwatch.pngFirst we were talking about it on Twitter, after a military-sounding helicopter went right over WSB HQ in Upper Fauntleroy. Now we’re hearing that chopper activity is continuing in the Alki area. Checking to see what’s going on. (On Twitter, those who saw the chopper before dark said it was a Chinook, and at least two people have mentioned a pole protruding from it.) 6:31 PM: Nothing that Seattle Police know about. Checking with other agencies. 7:09 PM: Got an answer from the US Coast Guard. Someone reported a possible “surfer in distress” – instead, it turned out to be “logs and debris.” (And if you saw the water mid-afternoon, you would have seen lots of those afloat today; we noticed it while in the Alki area mid-afternoon.)

19 Replies to "Update: Helicopter search off Alki Point = false alarm"

  • noreaster February 2, 2010 (6:26 pm)

    Definitely saw the Chinook earlier. Then this other helicopter showed up… I did notice a boat out there before sundown that had approximately a half dozen people in what appeared to be dry suits on…

  • Scubafrog February 2, 2010 (6:30 pm)

    The Coastguard’s Augusta helicopter’s been flying patterns east to west, and we have a police boat with a searchlight right out in front of my place here on Alki doing a search (west to east). I’m hoping all soul’s are well and accounted for.

    • WSB February 2, 2010 (6:36 pm)

      SPD tells me they don’t have anything working. May be a drill. I’m checking WSF and Coast Guard. Nothing on the SFD 911.

  • Noreaster February 2, 2010 (6:44 pm)

    We just saw the same police boat with its spotlight on on alki too. And as we rounded past anchor park toward the bridge we saw a plane being escorted into Boeing field…

  • Rick February 2, 2010 (7:00 pm)

    The Chinook just passed North to South off Lincoln Park area. I believe that’s a re-fueling tube protruding from the nose.

    • WSB February 2, 2010 (7:02 pm)

      I just noted that on Twitter – could see its lights out the window from the utility-room office here. Thanks for the context on tube. STILL no official reason but I would highly suspect drill.

      • WSB February 2, 2010 (7:08 pm)

        And an answer! It WAS a search … per Coast Guard. But suspected person in distress was instead “logs and debris.”

  • JumboJim February 2, 2010 (7:20 pm)

    I noticed the huge amount of driftwood afloat yesterday when I walked at Lincoln Park.

    Since we haven’t had heavy rains recently to wash these things down from the mountains I thought maybe they were out there because we had a really high tide recently? Anyone know?

  • miws February 2, 2010 (7:23 pm)

    I saw the Chinook flying in a north and somewhat westerly direction a few hours ago, while it was still daylight. I’m in the Thriftway block of California.


    Also saw it within the last week, maybe around four days ago, flying in pretty much the same direction.



  • lynne February 2, 2010 (7:24 pm)

    It went directly over our place in Arbor Heights. We knew WSB would have the scoop!

  • MargL February 2, 2010 (7:26 pm)

    We were just at Pepperdock’s this afternoon and I’d made the same observation about the amount of stuff floating around off shore. Especially after seeing a small speed-boat zip by thinking – I sure hope that guy’s got his eyes open for floating logs!

    Saw the Chinook go by in Arbor Heights, too. It was back-lit start of sun set, kinda pretty – but loud!

  • Thersea February 3, 2010 (8:00 am)

    I was walking last night between 5 & 6pm along Alki and was super annoyed by all the helicopter noise! Saw the police boat too and was wondering what was going on. Glad to know nobody was hurt!

  • displacedcoastie February 3, 2010 (9:37 am)

    Quote…”I was walking last night between 5&6 along Alki and was super annoyed by all the helicopter noise..”, I never post on here but you guys are in such a bubble I had to comment. Please know that search and rescue does not conform its schedule to meet the needs of the local lookyloos and disaster chasers. Please let us do our job…and the next time you see a helo in the air just stop and forget about yourself for a minute. Say a pray for the pilots and whomever they are searching for. Then you can resume your complaining about unleashed dogs, flyers in your yard, or whatever huge inconvenience is bothering you.

  • Lori February 3, 2010 (11:47 am)

    Amen to displacedcoastie’s comment! Was it really a Chinook? Usually USCG uses Dolphins or Jayhawks for their searches. Chinooks are my favorite helicopter so I’m bummed I missed it but glad it was a false alarm. I’m thankful our awesome Coasties were there to check it out anyway.

  • displacedcoastie February 3, 2010 (1:24 pm)

    lori..CG doesn’t have Chinooks…willing to bet it was a Dolphin from AirSta Point Angeles..thks for the support…

  • Tracy White February 3, 2010 (2:31 pm)

    I live just south of the Vashon Ferry Dock and there are Four main types of aircraft we get.

    1) Airlift Northwest Agustas or Aerospatiale EC-135s (I’m not sure they’re flying the Agustas any more as I don’t recall one for a bit. The EC-135s are MUCH quieter)
    2) News Choppers (Either the KOMO 4 407 Long Ranger or KING 5 A-star)
    3) Coastie SAR birds (usually Dauphins although the ones lately have sounded different; not sure if it’s a different airframe or re-engine. Definitely quieter than a Jayhawk).
    4) Transient military (Army Chinooks, Blackhawks, and Kiowas. Chinooks are usually the Special Ops version, which is cool to see).

  • mark February 3, 2010 (3:23 pm)

    I have no idea if it was a Coast Guard Helicopter, it was not “orange” but there was a Chinook that flew over Alki at 5:30 last night from the west, then turned north over Magnolia, flying low.

  • EGM February 3, 2010 (11:47 pm)

    I was out kayaking with a friend yesterday and we got the full experience. We were late getting back so it was after dark as we paddled by Salty’s and we saw a patrol boat close to shore. Then the helicopter appeared. Low and loud, no lights except a flashing red one underneath. They came out to us in the patrol boat and asked us if we’d seen a windsurfer….we had to laugh because there was no wind or wave yesterday. And no one else was out that we saw. They told us to have a good night and be safe then roared away leaving a substantial wake for us to paddle through. The helicopter buzzed us a few more times low enough to make blade swirls in the water. Thanks.

  • displacedcoastie February 4, 2010 (8:13 am)

    EGM..Are you out of your mind? How big was that spoon in your mouth you were born with? In your infinite wisdom you just had to chuckle when asked about the windsurfer? Looking for a lost soul makes you laugh. If someone reports a lost person it does not matter if it was a lost water skier in 15ft seas and 20kt winds, or a wind sailer in a glass top sea, Coast Guard searches. And when searching for a lost person the Coast Guard does not tool around at 3kts as to not disturb the precious kayakers. Maybe one day you will be lost and praying that the CG is out bothering every single person in the area looking for you…….

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