(EVENING COVERAGE can be found here)
11:18 AM: There’s a big response at Seacrest – a diver’s reported to be in trouble. Rescue crews are working from land and in the water. Lots of police as well as fire, so avoid the area TFN. We’re on the way; more to come.
(Photos by WSB co-publisher Patrick Sand)
11:27 AM UPDATE: According to the scanner, the diver was at one point coming up with “a buddy” but then went back down again. There’s an extensive search effort under way.
11:39 AM UPDATE: Still searching for the diver who’s reported to be in trouble. Police are expanding the stretch of Harbor that’s being blocked off because of the big rescue response. An SFD public-information officer is on the way to deal with the increasing media presence.
11:51 AM UPDATE: The search continues. Per scanner traffic, the diver is part of an advanced class that was in deep water. Meantime, we checked the archives; last emergency response in the area involving a diver was in September; a diver felt ill after emerging from the water. The last water rescue involving a diver, according to our archives, was this one last May, in which the West Seattle Water Taxi and crew turned into rescuers.
12:04 PM UPDATE: The Coast Guard is also assisting in the search; it has a chopper flying over the area. Rescuers have been on scene for an hour now, but the diver remains – as described in radio traffic – “unaccounted for.”
12:33 PM UPDATE: Still awaiting word from our crew of an official SFD briefing. A diver who spoke with media crews a little while ago said this happened in 96 feet of water, clear conditions. Radio traffic indicates rescue vehicles will be thinning soon, with an announcement that Harbor Avenue likely will reopen within half a hour.
12:39 PM UPDATE: SFD spokesperson Kyle Moore confirms this is shifting from search to recovery – divers have made three passes and have not found any sign of the missing diver, described as a man in his late 20s, experienced, with more than 50 dives in the past. He was out as part of an advanced class and then seemed to be in some kind of distress and started going up “too fast”; another tried to follow him but upon reaching the surface didn’t see the one who was in trouble. The group then signaled to people on shore that there was a problem, and that’s when fire/police were called. Moore says diver teams have made three trips down to 75 feet looking for the missing diver but haven’t found any sign of him; four divers (two police, two fire) are going to take one more look shortly. (Added above, video of Moore’s briefing, unedited, in its entirety)
1:26 PM NOTE: According to our archives, the last diver death in this area was three years ago.
4:28 PM UPDATE: We went back to Seacrest at about 3 pm; Coast Guard and SPD boats were still there, with the former heading out to look again.
6:32 PM: We are working to confirm a report the diver’s body may have been located.
7:03 PM: Police confirm that a body has been located. Civilian divers continued looking into the evening and told authorities around 6 pm they believed they had found him.
7:49 PM: We have started a new story with continuing coverage of the recovery operation.