Suspicious bag halts Bainbridge ferry runs

Clothing, organizer are found inside.

A duffel bag found in a garbage caused a security scare aboard the ferry Wenatchee Monday afternoon, shutting down service on the Bainbridge-Seattle run for four hours.

The bag was found near the elevator on the car deck, during a routine security sweep as the vessel docked at Winslow following the 11:25 a.m. sailing from Seattle, Washington State Patrol Trooper Glen Tyrrell said.

The discovery prompted ferry crews to contact law enforcement for fear that an explosive device could be inside.

“The bag appeared to be something that shouldn’t be thrown away, which raised the level of suspicion by the crew,” Tyrrell said.

Ferry officials called Bainbridge Police, who secured the scene until WSP and an interagency bomb squad arrived.

The incoming ferry Tacoma was diverted to Kingston, and passengers were bused to Bainbridge Island. Cars were evacuated from the vehicle holding area, and those on foot were kept behind the toll booths for safety.

The bag was X-rayed, revealing an electronic device that turned out to be a personal organizer; other contents included miscellaneous clothing.

The bag’s owner, a Seattle man, returned late in the afternoon to pick it up, saying he mislaid it while assisting a friend with a wheelchair, Tyrrell said. The man and his companions picnicked in Waterfront Park, unaware that they were the cause of the commotion nearby.

“He was absolutely devastated by the inconvenience he caused, and very, very sorry,” Tyrrell said.

Ferry spokesperson Pat Patterson said the incident served as a reminder to passengers not to leave bags and packages unattended.

“Like it or not, times are different,” she said. “What are you going to do?”

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