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Woman rescued after going overboard from Bainbridge ferry
A woman was rescued from the frigid Puget Sounds waters after she went overboard during a ferry ride to Bainbridge Island.
"It's a testimony of the skill of our crews," said David Moseley, director of Washington State Ferries. "They train for these kinds of things, and thankfully we don't have to use them often, but it is not overstatement to say that they saved this woman's life."
The woman fell or jumped from the ferry M/V Wenatchee as it was traveling toward Bainbridge Island from Seattle on Saturday evening.
After witnessing the incident, a passenger quickly told the ferry crew that the woman had been seen jumping from the ferry, according to Moseley.
Passengers then heard a "man overboard" call over the vessel's loudspeakers shortly before 10 p.m. Some passengers thought it was a drill. However, a second "man overboard" call soon followed along with the warning, "This is not a drill, port side."
The ferry halted in the water and immediately began to reverse its course as rescue boats were dispatched.
"Crews are absolutely trained to deal with a person overboard and how to deploy the life raft," Moseley said. "The first thing they do is locate the person."
Ferry riders took part in the search effort.
"The customers on the boat were very engaged in trying to spot the woman and trying to be of assistance," Moseley said. "Mostly, the way they can be of assistance by staying calm, and they were."
Passengers and crews soon spotted the woman. Life rings were thrown to her, but she did not reach them. A rescue boat managed to reach the woman and pull her aboard.
She was brought to the car deck on the Wenatchee, where she received first aid.
An aid car was waiting at the Bainbridge ferry terminal and the rescued woman was the first person off the boat.
"People should recognized how well-trained (crews) are and how organized they are when confronted with a situation like this," Moseley said. "It doesn't happen very often but we train for these situations. In this instance, as in all, we were very effective."