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Couple wakes up in sinking boat at Kirkland marina
Strong winds made for a rocky and nerve-racking night for many boat owners in Kirkland. But for one couple it was what they awoke to Monday morning that was the scariest of all.
A couple, sleeping in their boat at the Kirkland marina, awoke to a stranger yelling for them to get off their 40-foot vessel that was sinking.
"They were waken up by a jogger," said King County Marine Patrol Sgt. Jim Kanauss. "The winds over night damaged the boats to the point that they began to take on water."
Kanauss said that the boats were moored improperly, which contributed to the sinking. One boat sank to the bottom of the shallow marina waters but the top half of the boat was still visible. The other was still floating, but on its side.
The couple was able to get off the boat on their own but did sustain minor injuries, including one person with a laceration to the head, according to a Kirkland Fire spokesman. Both were treated at the scene. One of the boats had a large piece of the transom broken off, according to the Kirkland Firefighters' Facebook page.
"They had to get down into the water to get off the boat," said Kanauss, who noted that it only took first responders 3-5 minutes to get to the marina.
The Kirkland Fire Department responded first to the call for a surface water rescue at 5:45 a.m. at 25 Lakeshore Plaza. In all, seven units responded to the incident.
The crews found two 40-foot boats sinking independent of each other at the marina.
"Both boats went sailing with the Christmas Ships last night and were moored here overnight," said Kanauss.
Mike Iszley of Seattle was also sleeping on his boat Sunday night at the Kirkland marina after joining the Christmas Ships event.
"I stayed the night and woke up to the red lights from the police and fire rescue vehicles," said Iszley. "I was surprised my boat was the only one left floating."
Iszley said that he did not know the couple in the boat that sank but that he gave the man a pair of shoes as he did not have time to grab any as he exited the sinking vessel.
One bystander said that her daughter was supposed to go out on one of the boats that sank but that she "was glad she didn't go."
Local salvage companies are working through the morning to float the two boats. Sheriff's officials said that the process could take 6-8 hours.
"We see this sort of thing every spring and fall when the wind blows," said Kanauss, who thought that 10 percent of the boats are occupied. "There are more (rescues) at places like Marina Park because people sleep on their boats. But most are aware (that the boat is sinking) much sooner."