Update: Why Seattle Police, Coast Guard were searching off Alki

(First 2 photos by WSB’s Patrick Sand)
8:02 AM: Several people have messaged us wondering about at least one Seattle Police boat searching off Alki. Just talked with SPD media-relations Det. Mark Jamieson, who says someone called in early this morning after spotting a “fixed light” off Alki that the caller thought MIGHT be a boat in distress. So police have been out looking, but haven’t found any evidence so far of anyone in or having been in trouble.

8:22 AM UPDATE: Per scanner discussion, the Harbor Patrol boat spotted some kind of “object” in about 10 feet of water, and it’s been “marked.”

9:04 AM UPDATE: Added photos. The Coast Guard was out helping search, too.

(Photo by Don Brubeck)

20 Replies to "Update: Why Seattle Police, Coast Guard were searching off Alki"

  • Veronica January 30, 2014 (8:15 am)

    I saw that on my early morning run (before SPD arrived). The light was under the water. It appeared to be moving around…scuba diving at 5:30am?

    • WSB January 30, 2014 (8:21 am)

      Scanner traffic just now suggests an “object” spotted in about 10 feet of water, possibly related, but they can’t tell what it is and can’t go in after it right now.

  • Rob January 30, 2014 (8:43 am)

    Can’t go in after it in 10 feet of water off Alki in an area that is flat.


  • Rumbles January 30, 2014 (11:02 am)

    Maybe a submerged UFO!

    • WSB January 30, 2014 (11:08 am)

      I’ve read about 10 versions of that novel. John Wyndham!

  • 12th January 30, 2014 (11:53 am)

    WSB: any updates?

  • Eric1 January 30, 2014 (11:59 am)

    There are city union rules about diving. There might not have been a union certified diver on the Police boat. And I am not sure if Seattle Police have divers anymore (hence the Coasties on scene). I recall, that a while ago, the Fire Department got all bent out of shape when a Police diver rescued a man who drove his forklift off a dock (or vice versa). Never mind that they saved a life, it was the other department’s job to recover the would be dead body when they got there with dive equipment 20 minutes later.

  • carnny January 30, 2014 (5:14 pm)

    The SPD/SFD dive issues were settle in 2002. All the officers working on the boats in SPD Harbor Patrol are divers.

  • ltfd January 30, 2014 (6:02 pm)

    Eric1, The state has rules concerning rescue diving:
    1. http://www.lni.wa.gov/Safety/Rules/Policies/PDFs/WRD3215.pdf
    2. WAC 296-305-05113 Technical rescue operational specialties, (5) Water Rescue
    The Seattle Fire Department, SPD Harbor Patrol, Port of Seattle Police, and King Co.Sheriff’s Office have Dive Teams. Coast Guard Sector Seattle does not field a Dive Rescue Team. They have Rescue Swimmers (deployed from their helicopter), and they can deploy tethered Surface Swimmers from their boats when necessary.
    There are no “city union rules” concerning diving. However, the Seattle Police Officer’s Guild did file a complaint several years ago when the Fire Department instituted their own Dive Team. Initially, the mayor’s office told the Fire Chief to ‘stand down’ their team. Harbor Patrol then collected all of the Fire Department SCUBA equipment and sold it to an Indian tribe. A few months later, when the mayor told the Fire Chief to reinstitue the Dive Team, the city had to repurchase an entire new set of equipment. That may be the “tiff” that you are remembering:

  • 12th January 30, 2014 (7:04 pm)

    No one running this story has updated since this am. Really curious as to why.

    • WSB January 30, 2014 (7:25 pm)

      12th, I inquired with SPD around 1 pm if there was anything new. There wasn’t. If there’s nothing to say, there’s nothing to say, and that just happens in some cases. Even crimes. I’ll be asking again tomorrow.

  • LP January 30, 2014 (9:18 pm)

    I live across the street from that location, the light is visible now and is about 10′ south of the buoy that the police placed. The tide is still out until 10:30p, I’m tempted to go take a look, it’s really close to the tideline now.

  • LP January 30, 2014 (9:35 pm)

    I called SPD in case they want to come out and investigate with a spotlight while the tide is out. They got back to me saying the Harbor Patrol thinks it’s just a flashlight and felt sure that there was nothing to investigate. Wonder why they marked it with a buoy then… and I want to know that flashlight brand! :-)

    • WSB January 30, 2014 (10:12 pm)

      LP, thanks for the update. So the flashlight is still on???

  • LP January 31, 2014 (7:40 am)

    The light was still on last night

  • Todd January 31, 2014 (11:55 am)

    If it’s still not solved by tommarow. I’ll throw my scuba stuff on and check it out.

  • LP January 31, 2014 (1:57 pm)

    Well, the Harbor Patrol came back and scouted awhile, then pulled up the buoy and just left. They had a diver partially suited up but he didn’t go in.

  • ltfd January 31, 2014 (11:43 pm)

    SPD Harbor Patrol has available, as most Marine/Dive Teams do, both side-scan sonar capabilities as well as ROV’s (remote operated vehicles) with lights/cameras. Either or both of these could have been utilized to scan the area and “clear” it, precluding the need to splash a diver.

  • LP February 1, 2014 (9:24 am)

    FYI I checked last night when the tide was somewhat low and could not see the light anymore.

  • Todd February 2, 2014 (3:43 pm)

    Ok now my curiosity is peeked.
    I found an article from 2010 saying there was a small submarine spotted off alki and had a “bright light”
    I frustrated the harbor police didn’t go down and see.
    Can anyone give me a landmark to where the boey was?….
    They removed it and I want to dive the sight tommarow..

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