SEATTLE - Police said a man who spent an hour struggling in Elliott Bay before his cries for help were answered likely owes his life to Seattle police officers and a marina employee.
At around 12:30 a.m. Tuesday, a security guard working at the Elliott Bay Marina in the 2600 Block of West Marina Place was making his security rounds near dock J. Earlier in his rounds, he had seen a former coworker return home to his boat, which is moored in the one of the slips on dock J.
During his rounds, the guard heard someone yelling for help and he ran to try to find the source of the cries. The person then yelled, ‘Help me Bill!,” leading the guard to believe that his former coworker was the man who was in trouble.
The guard ran to the dock where his friend’s boat was moored and found the man struggling in the water.
The guard called 911 and said he was struggling to get the victim out of the water. He told the dispatcher that officers would need to force open the locked door to the dock's entrance in order to gain access to the dock.
The three officers who arrived at the marina had to break the Plexiglas security window and then take turns kicking in the heavy security glass window in order to gain entry to 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 three officers and the guard then pulled the victim out of the water, who was unresponsive.
The group immediately began to give the man aid for hypothermia, using blankets and a sleeping bag to try to warm the man until medics arrived. The man also had a 3-inch gash on his forehead.
While medics were on their way, officers were able to talk to the victim about what happened. Although he was slipping in and out of consciousness, the man was able to tell officers that he believed 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.
It is believed that he had been in the water for about an hour before the guard heard his cries for help.
Seattle fire medics arrived and stabilized the 67-year-old man before transporting him to Harborview Medical Center.
The victim is expected to make a full recovery.