Pierce County ferry crew rescues kayaker

A Pierce County ferry crew rescued a man from his kayak on Thursday after the kayak capsized near the Steilacoom ferry dock.

According to Pierce County officials, the kayaker was spotted in the water by ferry workers around 9:50 a.m. as the ferry was coming into the Steilacoom dock. The man was unable to get back into his kayak after it capsized and had drifted in front of the dock. The ferry was able to dock and the crew quickly launched a rescue boat, picked up the man and took him to the Steilacoom dock. Ferry crew provided blankets to help him dry off and warm up. The man, who was in the water approximately 15 minutes, appeared very cold, but declined medical attention from the emergency medical crew that had arrived. The ferry crew then towed the man’s kayak to the dock.

“The ferry crew did an excellent job rescuing a kayaker in the water,” said Captain Paul Crow, marine superintendent. “We do training drills for this type of emergency on a regular basis and our crew pulled off this rescue as they are trained to do. They responded quickly to rescue someone who would have been in a very serious situation if he was in the water much longer.”

The ferry crew rescuers, Adam Barr, senior deckhand and Josh Ellestad, deckhand, took less than seven minutes to launch the rescue boat and get the man into the boat. Other ferry crew who assisted in the rescue were Captain Frank Longmate, Watch Engineer Pat Lee, and deckhand in training Sam Shelton.

The Pierce County Ferry System provides service between the town of Steilacoom, Anderson Island and Ketron Island.