A man is alive today because of the actions of a marina employee and three Seattle Police officers who rescued him from Elliott Bay early this morning.
At around 12:30 this morning, a security guard working at the Elliott Bay Marina, located in the 2600 Block of West Marina Place, was conducting his security rounds near Dock J. Earlier in his rounds he had seen a former coworker of his return home to his boat, which is moored in the one of the slips on Dock J.
While conducting his rounds, the guard heard someone yelling “Help!” Not knowing exactly where the yelling was coming from, he began to search and heard the person yelling again, this time “Help me Bill!” The guard believed the person in trouble might be the same person he saw earlier in the evening, so he ran down to the end of the dock to where the boat was moored. When he got to the end of the dock he saw his friend floating in the water and in obvious distress. The guard immediately called 911 reporting that there was a man in the water and that he was struggling to get him out. He also indicated to 911 that responding officers would need to force open the secure door to the dock’s entrance in order to gain access to the dock.
Three officers responded to the Elliott Bay Marina. The plexi-glass security door to the dock was locked. Officers had to break the plexi-glass security window, and then take turns kicking in the heavy security glass window in order to gain entry onto the dock. Officers were able to push open the glass window far enough so that one officer could crawl through and open the door from the other side.
Once inside, the officers ran to the end of the dock where they found the employee struggling to keep the victim’s head above water. The four of them then pulled the victim out of the water. The man was unresponsive, and they immediately began to administer first aid for hypothermia. They noticed he had a 3″ gash to his upper right forehead. Officers used blankets and a sleeping bag to keep the man warm until the Seattle Fire Department arrived. While SFD was enroute, officers were able to talk to the victim about what happened. Although he was slipping in and out of consciouness, he was able to tell officers that he believes he slipped and fell as he was attempting to step onto his boat. He believes he hit his head on the dock as he fell backward into the water.
SFD arrived and stabilized the 67-year-old man before transporting him to Harborview Medical Center, where it is believed he will make a full recovery. It is believed that he had been in the water for about an hour before the witness heard his cries for help.