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Freeland man, 87, drowns near Bush Point

Freeland resident Jerry Ruzicka drowned Wednesday evening while fishing off Bush Point.

He was 87.

Ruzicka was fishing with a woman in a boat on the west side of Whidbey Island, when the small craft tipped over sending both of them into the water. It was unclear as of press time what caused the boat to tip.

A 9-1-1 call at 5:38 p.m. reported two people in the water between South Whidbey State Park and Bush Point.

A good Samaritan was able to bring both people to shore by the time first responders from Central Whidbey Fire and Rescue arrived and started CPR. Assistant Chief Chad Michael said Ruzicka was not breathing and did not have a pulse by the time he was transported to Whidbey General Hospital.

Island County Coroner Robert Bishop said Ruzicka was pronounced dead at 7:27 p.m. at Whidbey General Hospital by Dr. John Sherman. An autopsy was performed Friday morning, which Bishop said confirmed Ruzicka drowned.

Ruzicka was not wearing a personal flotation device, but the woman had one on.

Michael wanted to remind people to wear life jackets when on a boat and the importance of learning CPR.

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