Man nearly drowns in Liberty Bay

Emergency responders rescue 72-year-old male from a near drowning in Liberty Bay, on May 4 at 5:30 PM.

Crews were dispatched to Liberty Bay in front of the 18300 block of Fjord Dr. for a report of a victim in the water, from an overturned dingy. While en-route, Poulsbo Fire Duty Chief Jeff Russell made contact with the reporting party on Fjord Drive. They explained that a 30' pleasure boat was about 200 yards south of the Port of Poulsbo breakwater. There was a single male victim in the water holding on to the swim step with one hand, and attempting to control the overturned dingy with his other hand. The reporting party believed that the victim may have been in the water for up to 30 minutes prior to 911 activation.

Poulsbo Police and Poulsbo firefighters soon arrived in the police boat and it was apparent that the victim did not have the strength to pull himself on to the swim step. Fire officials want to remind people that while the weather may be warmer, the water is still dangerously cold. Chief Russell said, "The victim was so fatigued at the time of the rescue that he had no grip strength. He was not wearing a life jacket, and he could have been just minutes away from drowning." Firefighters immediately transported him to Harrison Hospital.

The witness who called 911 wrote a letter to the fire chief saying, “It was hard to see from the road but it appeared his smaller dingy had capsized, putting what looked like himself and a large dog in the water. The larger boat was swinging at anchor due to the wind and had the stern been a few more degrees off, we would have not seen the man. The man in the water attempted multiple tries to get back in his larger boat and was unsuccessful. After observing a few failed attempts, we felt the water temperatures may be impacting him and he was too far out to yell to so we opted to contact 911.

The speed with which one of your leadership Chiefs arrived on scene to direct was followed amazingly quickly by a high-speed Zodiac were most impressive and which resulted in both the man and dog being hauled out of the water by your team. We couldn't see much in the boats after that but we could see the dogs large white tail wagging back and forth from ashore so we knew at least one rescue-e was happy.

It was an impressive response/rescue sight for us ashore and I wanted tosay thanks to you and the fire team for being that well-prepared and taking care of a distressed mariner!”

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