Update: Search called off for person missing off lower West Seattle Bridge

(Photos by Christopher Boffoli for WSB)
5:33 PM: Now there’s a new incident – someone reported to have fallen or jumped off the south side of the lower West Seattle Bridge. Needless to say, the entire area below the bridges is a mess, with emergency equipment everywhere.

5:35 PM UPDATE: The person is reported to be in the water, hanging onto a piling. They’re sending divers into the water to help.

5:57 PM: Fire/rescue crews are on both sides of the surface beneath the bridge, but they aren’t seeing the person right now, and are still saying he (that’s the pronoun they are using) is believed to have jumped off the lower bridge’s south side.

6:11 PM: Per the scanner, a bicycle helmet and vest were found, not in the water, possibly linked to the person they’re looking for.

The low bridge is still closed both ways because of this.

6:33 PM UPDATE: From the scanner, police and fire have agreed the low bridge can be reopened. But the search continues.

A Coast Guard vessel is reported to be joining the search.

7:18 PM UPDATE: As pointed out in comments and by SFD via Twitter, this is now considered to be a “recovery” effort, with Seattle Police taking the lead (its divers have been searching along with SFD divers).

That means they don’t have much hope they’ll find the person alive.

7:24 PM UPDATE: WSB’s Christopher Boffoli at the search scene says the effort is winding up – nothing’s been found in the water.

MONDAY MORNING, 9 AM: We checked with Seattle Police spokesperson Det. Mark Jamieson this morning. He says that police found a wallet and cell phone at the spot on the bridge where the person was reported to have gone into the river, but he doesn’t know yet what followup has been done to see if the person to whom they belong is missing.

71 Replies to "Update: Search called off for person missing off lower West Seattle Bridge"

  • dgordon October 15, 2012 (5:37 pm)

    Just drove over the bridge, it’s all happening right now and there’s massive response, we counted 4 or 5 fire engines alone.

  • Guy October 15, 2012 (5:38 pm)

    When it rains, it pours.

  • WSGIRL October 15, 2012 (5:38 pm)


  • Look4wrd October 15, 2012 (5:44 pm)

    Lower bridge looks closed to vehicles but peds/bikes getting through.

  • Look4wrd October 15, 2012 (6:34 pm)

    Traffic flowing across lower bridge now.

  • JN October 15, 2012 (7:02 pm)

    I cycled past this a little while ago, thought someone had fallen/jumped. Hopefully they are found.

  • Silver in Ballard October 15, 2012 (7:10 pm)

    Listening to the scanner a few minutes ago they said that they are now considering this a recovery operation, as in recovery of a body. Sad.

    Both fire and police dive teams are on the scene.

    Earlier I heard that a bicycle was found on the bridge.

    Thank you for covering this.

  • Silver in Ballard October 15, 2012 (7:11 pm)

    Boat traffic is now being allowed up the river.

    • WSB October 15, 2012 (7:17 pm)

      thanks, Silver. We’re away from the scanner at the moment because of a big but unrelated meeting, but watching through other channels.

  • Dogdaydog October 15, 2012 (7:18 pm)

    You provide a great informational service, and are appreciated

  • DTK October 15, 2012 (8:16 pm)

    I concur and award you the prestigious Chickpeabody Award. Hats off to Journalism that makes a difference. Humus for all!

  • 2 October 15, 2012 (8:49 pm)

    I’m interested in knowing if a bicyclist fell?

  • Kit Case October 15, 2012 (8:59 pm)

    I can’t imagine how the person could have fallen – the barrier/rail is quite high, even when on my bike. TR, et al: thank you for all you do.

    • WSB October 15, 2012 (9:46 pm)

      Kit – I’m sure you’re right, but we haven’t talked to any PIOs yet – this is all scanner and in-person. And a huge thanks to Christopher, who climbed the staircase to the low bridge from the shore by Riverside Mill, which was as close as I got, after materializing like a miracle as I was slogging along back from the shore, soaked by rain and trying to figure out what to do next before crossing West Marginal again … BUt I digress. Our travails, of course, are NOTHING compared to the good men and women of the Seattle Police and Fire Department, whose divers were in the water for a couple hours, who had other folks on shore, all hoping maybe this would turn out to be a rescue after all. By morning at the latest, we should probably know a bit more about the circumstances. I was in the middle of under-the-bridge gridlock trying to get to the rollover when the call for this came out and it’s amazing all the rescue equipment could get through. I’m adding a few more of Christopher’s photos – he somehow then made it over to the shore where the rescuers were staged – by the way. – TR

  • Chris W October 15, 2012 (9:24 pm)

    Good to see you here, Silver!

  • marcus ativalu October 15, 2012 (11:56 pm)

    got my boat at the marina right next to it
    really bad place to be in the water with no floatation

  • alki mkay October 16, 2012 (11:36 am)

    Any updates WSB? How sad. Thanks for your reporting, WSB.

    • WSB October 16, 2012 (11:38 am)

      I added the update to the bottom of the story – police say a wallet and cell phone (and one other item but I can’t find my notes! were found on the bridge – but they were not able to tell me yet (final report wasn’t in) what if any steps had been made to contact their owner, to see if it was linked to someone who was missing, or not. I will check back on that.

  • jeanette October 16, 2012 (11:58 am)

    i am curious for an update as well… i rode by on my bike on the bridge right after the person that called this in hung up with the police. i heard the sirens as i turned and rode south on west marginal. it is an unusual spot for someone to jump from, i’m wondering what happened!

  • Mn October 16, 2012 (4:20 pm)

    Please offer closure in this story
    A lot happened and then all information just stopped

  • WSB October 16, 2012 (4:37 pm)

    Mn – what I wrote at 9 am today (see above) is the newest information I have. Unless a body turns up somewhere or someone claims those items, that’s it. I will be asking police again at tonight’s Crime Prevention Council meeting if there was any word … that’s my next opportunity to ask. – TR

  • Terene October 16, 2012 (5:08 pm)

    also been wondering about he jumper.
    will be checking in for updates.
    THANKS for keeping all of us posted.

  • JK October 16, 2012 (5:54 pm)

    The person involved in last nights incident has just recently had his family notified. They were looking for him today as he had not returned home last night per his usual route home to South Park. No word yet on whether a body has been identified or not. Out of respect for the family, that’s as much as I’ll say. Very sad indeed.

    • WSB October 16, 2012 (6:23 pm)

      Thanks for the update, JK.

  • t. October 16, 2012 (9:49 pm)

    Thanks JK.
    Sad. Sad. For the family.

  • Diane October 17, 2012 (12:36 pm)

    I was sure hoping for different outcome; and still awaiting more info

    • WSB October 17, 2012 (12:40 pm)

      At this point, unless we hear directly from the family, this may be as far as this story is likely to go.

  • Nitro October 17, 2012 (1:12 pm)

    Do they have surveillance cameras or traffic cameras for the lower bridge that might have caught on tape what happened? So very sad. My thoughts are with the family of the bicyclist.

    • WSB October 17, 2012 (1:31 pm)

      No, they don’t.

  • Molly O October 17, 2012 (4:28 pm)

    I am the wife of the biker. If anyone has any additional information, please e-mail me at westseattlebike@gmail.com. I am having a hard time getting information. I would love to hear from any biker or anyone who saw my husband, even if just passing by. I’ve heard his helmet and coat were retrieved in the water and out of the water. Did anyone see anything? I’ve heard he was hanging on the piling at one point.

    My husband loved biking. He was also a scuba diver, rescue diver trained. He was a strong swimmer. Much loved by his family.

    Please continue your posts. I just found your site.

  • Molly O October 17, 2012 (4:43 pm)

    A few facts from the police: His bike was found on the top of bridge with his two rear bike bags containing clothes, wallet, and phone. Two items were found below, his helmet and thin red coat. A biker saw him leaning over looking down. The biker looked up and he was no longer there. I don’t know if he fell or if he went down the stairs to retrieve lost items he dropped over the edge and entered the river. We would love some closure.

  • Matt October 17, 2012 (6:27 pm)

    Molly O – I’m sorry, I don’t have any information. But I work with your husband and just want to say that he is VERY well liked there and we’re so saddened. My thoughts are with you and your family.

  • Russ October 17, 2012 (6:37 pm)

    There is cameras on the Spokane St. Bridge lower sheer wall. The USCG vessel traffic system is the operator of them so they can see river traffic. Someone should see if they captured anything.

  • Neal Chism October 17, 2012 (7:07 pm)

    I want you to know that the Duwamish Waterway is a very small neighborhood where many people work everyday.
    And I will speak for all these people who work down by this water everyday, 365 days a year. They are looking. We are looking.
    For the Police, for the water rescue divers that go into this cold water to search, for the tug boat captains that move shipping up and back 24/7 on this water, for the WS Ferry people, basically all the people who make a living on our local waters, they are looking.
    For the fireman that I saw looking today along the shoreline on his lunch hour off, he was looking.
    We are looking.

  • Molly O October 17, 2012 (8:19 pm)

    Thank you for your help. Thank you for looking on the waterways. I appreciate your community keeping a lookout for him. Blond hair, blue eyes, 6′ 0″, weighs 230. I’ll try to post a picture.

  • BJ October 17, 2012 (8:56 pm)

    I am praying for you and your family. Your husband is much loved by his coworkers.

  • MMB October 17, 2012 (9:11 pm)

    Molly O

    We have never met, but I am crying for you. I can offer nothing else – I wish I could.

  • Brendi P. October 17, 2012 (9:25 pm)

    My thoughts & prayers are with you.

  • Brendi P October 17, 2012 (9:33 pm)

    You & your family are in my thoughts & prayers.

  • T October 17, 2012 (10:40 pm)

    Molly ~
    My thoughts are with you and your family & friends.
    I am sooooo sorry.

  • Xiaoyuan October 18, 2012 (12:03 am)

    hi, Molly:

    I am your husband’s Ping Pong buddy and former colleague. I could not believe what happened to him and I will pray for and wait for his return. God bless you.

  • Courtney E October 18, 2012 (12:19 am)

    My name is Courtney and I am Brendi’s sister and I also knew your husband. You and your whole family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Denise October 18, 2012 (6:52 am)

    Molly,this is Denise from game night. I am in shock and disbelief. Many many prayers are being said for you.

  • Molly O October 18, 2012 (7:46 am)

    My husband walked into the house at 11 pm last night. He did jump into the river from the bridge. He spent two nights in the river and under docks and pilings. He said the bridge didn’t kill him so he was trying to die of exposure. He then walked home.
    Thank you to every person who searched. He gave up his quest because of your diligence. I know many of you that he saw were on your own time. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for caring about someone you didn’t even know. You brought him home with your concern.
    He has some issues that I didn’t know about that he needs to work through. We will get him counselling and help.
    Thank you all for your thoughts, prayers and search.
    Molly O

    • WSB October 18, 2012 (7:50 am)

      Molly – so glad to hear this. On a separate note, I hope that you have notified or will notify the police so they can close the case. And while I hope you already know this, for anyone else reading – Crisis Clinic has a 24-hour hotline, 206.461.3222.

  • Courtney E October 18, 2012 (8:02 am)

    That is wonderful news! Praise God!

  • BJ October 18, 2012 (8:18 am)

    It is a miracle. We are all celebrating here at Varolii! Praise God.

  • Michelle W October 18, 2012 (8:34 am)


    I have been praying for you night and day. Tell your husband we love him and are so glad he is home! Praise God He is so good!

    Love you!

  • Brendi P October 18, 2012 (8:39 am)


    I am so happy that he has come home. Thank the Lord! He had alot of people that really care about him & praying for him.

  • Stacy October 18, 2012 (9:04 am)

    I have to tell you that his friends at Varolii love him and his family, and we are sending thoughts and prayers. I am grateful to the powers that be that he is safe. Thank you WSB for allowing a forum for us to come together and express support to those in need.

  • KV October 18, 2012 (9:10 am)

    I am so happy to hear that he has come home! I work with your husband and have so much respect for him. Let’s make sure that he gets the help he needs. It’s a second chance for him, and we must make it count. AO, if you read this, I love you! I respect you. You are loved by many!

  • Larry October 18, 2012 (9:20 am)


    As a co-worker with Arne we are so thrilled he is ok. I know this must be a huge relief to you and your family. Please let Arne know we have been thinking of him for the last two days and are here to support him anyway we can.

    All our best!

  • Justin October 18, 2012 (9:26 am)

    Molly – We love you guys and are so glad he’s home!

    West Seattle Blog: thank you for the service you provide. Your article played a huge part in helping the family find out where he was. Before we saw the article and a tip from JK, the family was searching the bike route, hospitals, etc. for any sign of what had happened to him.

  • Hank October 18, 2012 (9:53 am)

    Molly. I’m very glad Arne is home, in the care of family. He’s a great guy and was a joy to work with. I was sorry to see him leave Varolii, but knew he was excited about his next opportunity. What a relief. Hank

  • ScottS October 18, 2012 (10:24 am)

    Molly, you and your whole family will be in our prayers. Perhaps this is a new beginning for Arne. Sometimes when we are lost in the dark, it is hard to see all the light that surrounds us. I pray he finds that and that you are both strong enough for this process.

  • Kevin and Brendi October 18, 2012 (10:27 am)

    Arnie, I am happy to hear you are home. We were praying for you and are so happy you made it home. -Kevin and Brendi

  • Michelle B. October 18, 2012 (11:46 am)

    I concur with Justin’s post. Thank you for this information source. We are an extended part of Molly’s family and have been tracking the search from Spokane.

    Molly and Arne, you continue to be in our prayers! Praise God for a new day!

    Love, Michelle and Ryan B.

  • Lisa October 18, 2012 (1:16 pm)

    So much love to you M and A! We are so happy that you are safe and with your family. What a miracle to have you back and safe where you belong, together. You guys are loved and remain in our prayers. Hugs from the midwest, Lisa and Jared

  • Guy October 18, 2012 (2:54 pm)

    So happy he survived. What an amazing story. He should write a short story about it and share it with the world. Tell him we are all happy he is still with us in the world.

  • Someone who goes over that bridge a lot... October 18, 2012 (5:50 pm)

    I wonder if this isn’t a learning opportunity for SPD and SFD? I am not criticizing the job they did, but rather I am wondering if there were not things they can take away from this.
    Obviously he was alive and in the area they were searching, and if that is the case how was he missed? Consider how much more tragic this would have been had he not done this intentionally, and it had been an accident and he were incapacitated, and died later, after the search was closed down.
    Yes the divers were in the water for a couple of hours… but only a couple of hours? All signs seemed to indicate that someone had gone into the water, yet after not finding him the search was called off?
    Again, I am not criticizing them for the dangerous work they do, but it seems like the protocol is a little flawed and could use improvement.

    I anticipate that I am going to hear an extensive list of reasons why I am wrong about this, but I am not questioning their effort, simply the effectiveness of that effort, and the standards that they use to determine that they have done all they can do.

  • miws October 18, 2012 (6:55 pm)

    Arnie and Molly,best of luck to you as you move into this next stage of your lives, and heal.


    As you can see, there is an entire community of caring folks that are “pulling for you”.



  • EJ October 18, 2012 (6:59 pm)

    Wow. So happy that this man (so clearly loved & important to his family & friends) has survived this ordeal…

    To Arne (I don’t know you but… ): I hope you are able to see & accept just how loved you are and seek out help for whatever it is that caused you to want to end your life. It appears that you were not meant to leave this life just yet and I wish you the best in your journey of healing!

  • Molly O October 18, 2012 (8:31 pm)

    Thank you for all your love and prayers.

  • E October 18, 2012 (9:16 pm)

    Molly-I’m a stranger but thinking about you in these hard times. Arne- I wish you the best. I hope you know there are others out there that feel the way you do. I can’t think of anything to say to you to help because I can’t think of anything people could say to me when I feel suicidal. I just hope there’s some comfort knowing you’re not alone and that sometimes it gets so painful and overwhelming that some of us can think of no other way to stop the pain. I hope there are people that can help you find other ways to ease your pain.

  • Phil and Jan October 18, 2012 (9:46 pm)

    Molly, Thank you for your courage in helping us understand what happened. We are so relieved and grateful. We were happy to share three wonderful words: he is safe!
    Phil and Jan

  • Matt October 18, 2012 (9:46 pm)

    Molly and Arne – I can’t tell you what unbelievable and incredible news this is. Many, many people who work with Arne have been saddened and distraught these past few days – he has touched us all in the short time that we’ve spent with him. We hope to have many many years working with him and enjoying our days with him. We look forward to welcoming him back with very open arms when he’s ready.

  • Ray West October 19, 2012 (4:47 am)

    Over the years, I’ve witnessed three people attempting to jump off a Seattle bridge. Two succeeded. I’m glad to hear this had a more positive ending, though I know it’s a long road ahead, and I wish you both well.

  • Pat October 19, 2012 (6:37 am)

    Arne & Molly – what an answer to prayer – my prayer chain is Praising God that Arne is back with his family. My prayer now is for healing and peace that only God can give. Take care and lean on HIM for He has strong arms. I am looking forward to having Arne back at work – you are missed.

  • AG October 19, 2012 (7:00 am)

    I am a stranger to you, but your story moved me to tears. My life has been touched by suicide and attempted suicide more than once, and the pain to the survivors is indescribable. Because of the guilt factor, it’s just that much worse than any other loss, and it never goes away.

    Molly, you may go through some of this process, and I HIGHLY recommend Survivors of Suicide (http://bit.ly/QBbrac) to you for support from people who understand the particular pain of not having known.

    I am so glad to hear that he didn’t complete the attempt, and that he’s getting help. Please know our thoughts and best wishes are with you and your family as you recover.

  • Privacy Advocate October 19, 2012 (7:07 am)

    So glad this turned out well.

    To BJ, Stacy, and others that mentioned employer and/or man by name – you disclosed private information in a public forum that Molly and others chose not to disclose. You may want to think twice next time – not everyone wants details of their personal identification posted on the Web.

  • Arne October 22, 2012 (10:39 am)

    Thank you all for the overwhelming support and love given to my family during my terrible time of crisis. I survived two nights in the Duwamish river and it’s shores most certainly because of the prayers and thoughts of others.


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