Runaway truck plunges into water at Swartz Bay ferry terminal

by Tim Flanagan on May 21, 2011

MEGHAN WALKER has this story at

For the past few months, here Ken Balcomb has been putting up posters on docks at marinas along the California coast, ambulance asking for orca-sighting reports.

It may seem archaic, online akin to a kid putting up a "lost cat" poster on a telephone pole. But Balcomb says it works.

But science may soon have a more up-to-date method: Shooting the killer whales with a dart that a satellite can track. The federal government is considering such a proposal.

Scientists, however, don’t agree on tagging. For some, tagging could help in understanding a beloved but endangered animal. For others, tagging would provide little value but do real harm to orcas.

Read more:

Marty McOmber has the story at Three Sheets Northwest:

A 72-year-old man from Tacoma who died suddenly as he was about to dock at a South Sound marina on Wednesday likely suffered a medical emergency, mind
authorities say.

Horst Albrecht was alone aboard a 27-foot sailboat heading into the Longbranch Marina in Filucy Bay around 5:30 p.m. when the incident occurred, said Lt. Peter Cropp, marine services manager for the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department. Autopsy results are pending, but Cropp said it appears Albrecht had some type of medical emergency.

“The indication at this point is that there was some medical condition onboard the boat and as the operator was coming in to dock the boat, succumbed to that,” he said. “It doesn’t appear that it was any kind of boating accident that caused the death.”

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Marty McOmber has this item at Three Sheets Northwest:

Shrimpers will get one more day to catch their limit of spot shrimp in several areas of Puget Sound this year.

Areas set to reopen May 25 for recreational shrimp fishing include the Discovery Bay Shrimp District, health marine areas 8-1 (Skagit Bay/Saratoga Passage), 8-2 (Port Susan/Port Gardner), 11 (Tacoma/Vashon Island), and a portion of Marine Area 10 outside of Elliott Bay, west of a line from West Point to Alki Point.

The fishery in those areas will run from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Hood Canal Shrimp District will also open May 25 as previously scheduled, and will reopen for one additional day June 8, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Mark O’Toole, a shellfish biologist for the Washington Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, said rough weather reduced the expected catch in all six areas of Puget Sound during openings earlier this month.

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[This release comes from BC Ferries. —Tim]

VICTORIA – At approximately 5:35 pm today, try
a white GMC pick up truck waiting in line for the 6:00 pm ferry at Swartz Bay terminal proceeded to drive up the upper ramp of berth #1 and drove through several guard barriers and safety netting at an accelerated speed.  The truck then proceeded at a high rate of speed to drive off the end of the berth and into the water. 

There was no vessel in dock at the time of the incident.  The Spirit of British Columbia had left the terminal five minutes prior to the incident.

It is reported that the truck floated in the water for a short period of time before sinking.

Upon the incident, heart
BC Ferries staff on site immediately responded along with RCMP,  BC Ambulance, North Saanich Fire Department, Victoria Rescue Coordination Centre and the Coast Guard Hovercraft.

Coast Guard divers have located the truck and deceased driver in the water off the end of the berth.

The incident is not expected to affect BC Ferries’ operations at Swartz Bay and normal long weekend operations continue. 

Police and BC Ferries have launched separate investigations in this tragic incident.

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