One man found alive, another dead in water off Whidbey

One man was recovered alive and another man was found dead in the water west of North Whidbey on Thursday.

The men’s boat was not found and the Coast Guard is continuing to search the area.

Island County Coroner Robert Bishop said the cause of death for Richard Seay, 54, was drowning. He was from Marysville.

The other man, Michael Powers, is at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

Battalion Chief Chris Swiger, with North Whidbey Fire and Rescue, said the department’s rescue boat responded twice to calls for a water rescue Thursday.

At about 5 a.m., first responders received a report of a capsized boat west of Deception Pass.

North Whidbey Fire and the Swinomish Tribal Police responded, but turned the boats back after encountering very rough weather, with swells up to six to eight feet, Swiger said.

The Coast Guard then reported that the report was unfounded.

At about 1 p.m., the fire department received a report of an unresponsive man found in the water about two miles off Joseph Whidbey State Park.

The boaters who found him brought him to the beach; he was transported to Fort Nugent Park, where a helicopter took him to Harborview.

Boats from North Whidbey Fire, Central Whidbey Fire and Rescue and East Jefferson Fire Rescue scoured the area, but the search was suspended after about an hour, with concurrence from the Coast Guard, the battalion chief said.

The two Whidbey boats did a slow search as they returned, he said.

About a half hour later, a Coast Guard helicopter radioed that a body was spotted in the water.

East Jefferson Fire returned and brought the body to Cornet Bay, where the coroner pronounced the man dead.

Petty Officer Trevor Lilburn, public affairs officer for Coast Guard Pacific Northwest, said indications are that Powers was wearing a life jacket, but Seay was not.

Powers is unable to communicate clearly, he said, so it’s still uncertain what occurred.

“There is no debris field, no indication of where it was,” he said.

According to the coroner, the men were on a 23-foot Duckworth boat.

Lilburn said the original call of a capsized boat is still considered unfounded.

More in News

3 transported in head-on accident

Three people were transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries Wednesday after… Continue reading

Eagle shot | Island Scanner

The following items were chosen from reports made to the Island County… Continue reading

Field carrier landing practices May 27- June 2

Aircraft carrier-based flight training operations are scheduled to occur at the Naval… Continue reading

Man on the run enters Oak Harbor house without permission

A 22-year-old man on the run from the law went into a… Continue reading

Navy officer pleads guilty to lesser charge of assault

A Navy flight officer who was assigned to a squadron at Naval… Continue reading

Splash park name decided in contest

Children will be splashing and having fun at Shipwreck Shores this summer.… Continue reading

Road repair tax headed to the ballot

This November, Oak Harbor residents will likely get the chance to vote… Continue reading

Fire destroys fifth wheeler

Firefighters with North Whidbey Fire and Rescue extinguish a fire that destroyed… Continue reading

Plan for more cops on street gets nod

Changes are coming to the Oak Harbor Police Department. Tuesday, Oak Harbor… Continue reading

Most Read