Seaplane forced to abort takeoff in bustling Lake Union

A seaplane was forced to abort takeoff in order to avoid colliding with a boat after many people gathered on Lake Union to beat the heat.

No one was hurt, and the seaplane did manage to take off after a Seattle Police Harbor patrol boat helped clear a path.

Until two weeks ago, the patrol boat had been in dry dock in need of repairs.

The Seattle Police Foundation came to its rescue, raising more than the $25,000 needed to repair this vessel and get it back on Lake Union.

And today, the boat’s crew moved in to clear a path for a seaplane.

It is easy to see how it could happen. So many people escaping the heat, all of them seeming to crowd onto Lake Union.

That proved to be an issue for this seaplane when its pilot was forced to abort takeoff to avoid colliding with a boat.

“See, this is what happens,” observed Seattle police officer Kyle Galbraith. “It’s so busy.”

It made for a busy Sunday for officers Galbraith and Ken Turner, who were navigating bustling Lake Union aboard SPD Harbor Patrol Vessel 4.

Vessel 4 operates as both a patrol boat and a fire boat, yet it sat in dry dock for eight long months with no money in the current SPD budget to repair it.

That’s when the Seattle Police Foundation stepped in, raising more than the $25,000 needed to get it back in the water.

“They’re always there,” said Galbraith. “They always want to spend money to help the police department.”

That proved invaluable on this Sunday, as Lake Union was teeming with vessels.

“Hey, folks. You need to make a path for the seaplane,” Galbraith said to boaters using Vessel 4′s sound system.

When the seaplane’s takeoff was aborted to avoid a collision, Harbor Patrol Vessel 4 stepped in.

“You guys need to move out of the way,” Galbraith told boaters again.

The pilot had activated the lights on these buoys, a warning that a seaplane will soon need a clear runway.

“You can’t see them coming so, like I say, it’s about educating them that when you see these lighted buoys, you got to move 200 feet in either direction,” said Galbraith. “Yeah, we had a boat go right in front of that seaplane. I’ve never seen that.”

Thanks to their effort, the seaplane was able to get a clear path long enough to finally take off.

All in a day’s work for Seattle Harbor Patrol, now with Vessel Number 4 back at work.

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