Name withheld of man who jumped from Mukilteo-Clinton ferry

The identity of a 62-year-old Marysville man who jumped from the ferry Cathlamet on its midnight run from Mukilteo to Clinton early Monday morning remained withheld Tuesday.

“The family believes that it’s him, but we can’t release the name until we have a (body) recovery, for law-enforcement reasons,” said Sgt. Trent Cain of the Washington State Patrol’s Homeland Security Division.

The family also requested that the name be withheld, Cain said.

Viewed after the incident, the ferry’s surveillance video showed the man walking alone along a side vehicle bay, pausing for a moment, then climbing through an opening in the ferry wall and jumping into Puget Sound, Cain said.

The man appeared to be on a lower-level side deck, and only one or two vehicles could be seen in the surveillance video. The man was believed to have been alone when he drove onto the ferry, Cain said.

Crew members of the sparsely-filled 124-car ferry were alerted when the vessel arrived at Clinton and they discovered the victim’s 1978 Chevrolet pickup truck empty on the car deck.

The ferry’s captain notified the U.S. Coast Guard at about 12:40 a.m., Cain said. The Coast Guard, assisted by other state and local agencies and a Navy helicopter from Oak Harbor, launched a search of the water between Mukilteo and Clinton without result.

The search was called off about seven hours later, Coast Guard Petty Officer Elliott Arnold said Monday.

Cain said the State Patrol used the pickup’s license and registration to trace the owner. He said the owner’s family was shown a still photograph from the surveillance video and made a positive identification.

The Island County Sheriff’s Office and Island County Fire District 3 in South Whidbey were alerted but were not summoned to assist with the sea search, officials said.

“We had our boat out and were prepared to launch, but everything was handled on the other side,” Mike Cotton, District 3 deputy chief, said Monday.

Cain said surveillance cameras are located at various locations on each ferry for homeland security regions. Most are trained on sensitive areas of access aboard the vessels, but others cover main passenger walkways and other public areas, he said.

Ferry officials said Monday’s was the sixth suspicious incident aboard ferries in the past year, the other five all aboard ferries traveling between Seattle and Bainbridge Island.

Only one remains unresolved. On Jan. 14, an unclaimed vehicle was discovered aboard the ferry Puyallup, and its driver, identified as Lynn Stafford-Yilmaz, was never found.

No evidence of criminal activity was discovered, and the case was closed, officials said.

The other incidents included two false alarms of people in the water, and an abandoned vehicle and a riderless bicycle. The people in the water turned out to be a log and a feeding seal, and the car and bicycle owners were later contacted, ferry officials said.

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