Search called off for possible drowning victim

A surface and underwater search for a person was discontinued on Tuesday as afternoon tidal currents became increasingly dangerous to divers in the waters between the Tracyton community in East Bremerton and the Rocky Point Peninsula.

The person was observed around 7 p.m., Monday evening, approximately 200 feet from the Tracyton Beach Road shore, where the confluence of waters from Dyes Inlet and Phinney Bay converge, and lead further south into the Port Washington Narrows.  Numerous witnesses, including persons waterborne in kayaks and those ashore, reported observing someone in the water, apparently in distress, waving arms and yelling for help.

One of those paddling a kayak maneuvered close to the victim but the person disappeared and never resurfaced. This witness, along with many others, was adamant that the subject in distress was human and not a sea mammal.

The person was described as a white male, wearing some type of dark-colored hood that revealed a portion of the swimmer’s face and head.  During the following six hours a search effort was initiated involving two boats from the sheriff’s marine services unit, a U. S. Coast Guard surface craft and Coast Guard helicopter, and a rescue boat from Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue, all coordinated by the sheriff’s Search and Rescue (SAR) Unit.  Civilian divers from Underwater Search and Rescue Volunteers (USARV) – Kitsap County arrived to conduct limited diving operations during hours of darkness.

The search was suspended at 1 a.m. and resumed again around 8 a.m. at high tide with similar units as the previous night, but with the addition of U. S. Navy divers from Naval Base Kitsap and with the assistance of “Pocket,” a specially trained K-9 from All Breed Canine Search and Rescue, a division of Washington Explorer Search and Rescue, Kitsap County Unit.  A sheriff’s boat provided a dive platform to assist four civilian USARV divers, while Navy divers operated from their own surface craft. A Coast Guard helicopter from Port Angeles Air Station examined Dyes Inlet and its shorelines.

Despite the effort and time expended by all search units and agencies, the recovery of the missing person was not successful.

Yesterday's search operations were discontinued when rip tide currents precluded safe operations; dive personnel and sheriff’s boats cleared the scene before noon. Sheriff’s SAR supervisors and staff will make a determination regarding the possibility of future search operations concerning the person in the water.

Persons with any information about friends, neighbors, acquaintances, etc., whose whereabouts are unknown, are asked to contact Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office, via 9-1-1, reference sheriff’s case report number K14-006426.



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