Cathlamet crew rescues two divers
June 25, 2008 · Updated 1:51 PM
"The ferry Cathlamet interrupted its routine Thursday night, June 14, to snatch out of the water two scuba divers whose boat had sunk.The Cathlamet left the Mukilteo dock at about 9:30 p.m. and a mile out found two people in the water, said Susan Harris-Heuther, Washington State Ferries spokesperson. Apparently the crew knew there was a problem because the boat left the dock a few minutes early.The Cathlamet stopped, launched its small rescue boat, and retrieved two men from the water. They were taken to Clinton so as not to unduly interrupt the ferry schedule, and then returned to Mukilteo on the Kittitas.The two men, contacted aboard the Kittitas, said they were too embarrassed to give their names, but they were later identified as Justin Johnson and Greg Solomon. They said they were thankful for the ferry crew who pulled them from a very precarious situation.The men, both in their 20s, said they were from Lake Stevens and Edmonds. They had left the Mukilteo public boat launch and gone to Hat Island to dive for ling cod. They didn't find any ling cod, but they found trouble on their way back to Mukilteo.They were riding in a 15-foot catamaran-style boat powered by a 50 horsepower outboard motor. The seas were calm, but suddenly they were hit by a wave of unknown origin. It sucked the bottom down just like that, said one of the men. We had just enough time to scramble for our life jackets. There was no one near us in the water.When the boat was swamped most of the divers' gear went to the bottom of the sea, including their swim fins. While the boat bobbed barely above the water, they tried swimming but couldn't make any progress in the strong current. We were swimming hard, but we were afraid we'd end up in Tacoma, one of them said.They were both wearing their dry suits and they had a flotation device and a waterproof flashlight that one of the men waved around and around. The Cathlamet crew spotted them in the water and headed toward them. Initially I was concerned they'd run us over, but then they started waving and saying 'How you doing'? one man said. They were doing fine once they realized they were being rescued.Neither man was injured and it was not immediately known where their boat ended up. The Coast Guard had no information on the incident Friday morning. "