WSF Puyallup - April 15, 2001
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WSF Puyallup Passenger, April 15, 2001
Time of Death 7:30
On April 15, 2001, Anthony W. Reed, 30, from Seattle, Washington was a bike messenger from Seattle, was riding to Bainbridge Island by himself aboard Washington State Ferries' Puyallup. He had come aboard on a bicycle, and had two back packs with him.
Reed apparently was sitting or leaning on the narrow railing on the rear, port-side deck of the Puyallup about 1930 hours Sunday.
The Coast Guard said there were three possibilities, including he either fell over, jumped, or was pushed overboard.
The boat, traveling at 18 knots (about 21 mph), made its usual hard turn to starboard between Blakely Rock and Tyee Shoals and headed into dock at Eagle Harbor according to the U.S. Coast Guard.
The turn likely combined with the weight of a heavy knapsack on Reed's back to pull him overboard from the picklefork deck, Coast Guard spokesman Robert Lanier said.
The picklefork decks are narrow levels extending above the end of the car decks and are about three stories above the water.
The ferry captain immediately ordered the 460-foot ferry to a full stop, Lanier said. Two life rings were thrown into the water. The crew launched a small rescue boat to try to find Reed.
A man-overboard call was broadcast at 1933 hours.
Five minutes later, patrol boats from the Coast Guard, Seattle Police Department and the Bainbridge Island Fire Department were on the scene.
A Coast Guard helicopter from Port Angeles was overhead by 1946 hours., Lanier said.
A rescuer spotted the man in the water at some point, Lanier said. But he quickly disappeared and was never seen again.
The search, which extended from Eagle Harbor to Decatur Reef on the island's south end, was suspended at midnight.
Rescuers recovered Reed's backpack from the water and found his identification inside.
Another bag believed to belong to Reed was found aboard the Puyallup after the ferry docked and passengers disembarked.
Ferry railings are 42 inches high, and there is no record of anyone accidentally falling over one.
His body was never found, and this incident remains unsolved.