Video: West Seattle Water Taxi crew honored as heroes

June 1, 2011 4:37 pm
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 |   King County Water Taxi | West Seattle news

On the West Seattle Water Taxi‘s downtown pier about an hour ago, King County Ferry District board chair Joe McDermott and member Larry Phillips honored the crew who rescued a diver. Here’s our coverage from May 10th, including a photo of the Rachel Marie just off Seacrest during the rescue. As was recounted in coverage that day, Captain Neal Amaral maneuvered the passenger ferry into place, and crewmember Aaron Barnett jumped into the water till the diver was safely secured into a sling.

Also honored (our video shows the short ceremony in its entirety), their fellow crewmembers Frank Massaro – who received a citation last year from the U.S. Coast Guard for rescuing a man in the water near Pier 50 – and engineer Vik Misic. All of their roles in the rescue are recapped in today’s county news release – click ahead to read it in its entirety:

The King County Ferry District Board of Supervisors today recognized the crew of the Water Taxi vessel Rachel Marie for their rescue of a diver in distress near West Seattle’s Seacrest Dock last month.

“Today’s recognition is just a small token of the Board’s appreciation for the crew’s brave actions,” said Board Chair Joe McDermott. “We commend the crew’s quick-thinking, commitment to public safety and dedication to outstanding service.”

“The people of King County and water taxi riders should feel very secure knowing we have such capable and heroic crew members staffing the Elliot Bay Water Taxi,” said Board member Larry Phillips. “It took quick thinking, swift action, and teamwork to execute this rescue and save a person’s life. We are all very grateful to the Rachel Marie crew.”

On May 10, as the Rachel Marie pulled away from the Seacrest Dock for their regularly scheduled 11 a.m. sail, the ship’s crew noticed a diver who appeared to be in distress. Captain Neal Amaral maneuvered the vessel close to the diver while crew member Aaron Barnett put on an onboard rescue suit and jumped into the water to assist the diver. Barnett spent 10 minutes in the water while the diver was maneuvered into a sling.

The Seattle Port Police responded to the radio call from the Rachel Marie and they, along with the Coast Guard, were able to get the diver to land and to the hospital for medical care. The rescued diver survived and continues to recover.

“The heroic action of the Rachel Marie crew is yet another example of King County employees going above and beyond the call of duty, and I am very proud of them,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “I am grateful that the diver survived, and send him best wishes for a speedy recovery.”

The Board of Supervisors recognized Captain Amaral and crew member Barnett. Deckhand Frank Massaro, who threw out a life ring and prepared the man overboard equipment, and Engineer Vik Misic, who assisted in removing the diver’s gear to allow medical treatment to be administered, were also recognized for their role in saving the life of the diver.

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