Helicopter lifts baby from Clinton ferry dock
June 25, 2008 · Updated 12:14 PM
"Photo: A medical transport helicopter prepares to land on the Clinton ferry dock Sunday to airlift an infant to Harborview Medical Center. Submitted photo by Damian J. GreeneA 4-month-old infant girl was airlifted off the Clinton ferry dock Sunday afternoon after she began to suffer from traumatic injuries allegedly caused by being shaken by an adult.At about 1:18 p.m., the infant's mother called 911 from the dock reporting that she was alarmed by the infant's appearance, according to the Island County Sheriff's Office. She saw the child when its father drove to the dock to pick the woman up from work. Fire District 3 medics and Whidbey General Hospital paramedics responded to the dock to treat the infant. After some minutes of working to stabilize the girl, the medics called an Airlift Northwest helicopter from Arlington to transport the infant to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.Dan Fergusson, the terminal manager at the Clinton dock, said timing was on the infant girl's side. When the medics ordered the air transport, the ferry dock had just emptied and ticket sellers had sold only one lane's worth of car passes. This situation allowed Washington State Ferries personnel to keep the dock empty for a helicopter landing.When the decision was made to land, we had just floated a boat out, Fergusson said.Originally, State Ferries personnel had reserved a spot aboard that 1:30 p.m. ferry for an ambulance. But medics concluded that the infant's condition was too serious to attempt a land transport.While the drama on the dock was taking place, the ferry line backed up to a length usually seen only during a NAS Whidbey air show. Drivers in their cars idled in line up the highway to Cedar Vista Lane and beyond, waiting for their next chance to get aboard a ferry. Fergusson said he appreciated the drivers' patience.The public really responded well, he said. It was almost 3 p.m. before traffic began flowing onto the ferry boats again. Run times did not return to normal until after 8 p.m. Sunday.Also responding to the incident were Island County Sheriff's deputies. Jan Smith, the chief administrative deputy at the sheriff's office, said Monday in a press release that the infant's condition is being investigated. She released no details about who might have shaken the baby, nor did she release the name of the infant or its parents. However, she said the parents, who are both in their 30s, are cooperating in the investigation.The infant was listed in serious but stable condition as of Monday afternoon. The state's Department of Social and Health Services has taken the infant into its custody. An investigation into the incident is ongoing. "