Mercer Island boater presumed drowned

This boat, registered to Islander Richard Sweezey, was found empty on a Kirkland shore on Friday.  - Contributed Photo
This boat, registered to Islander Richard Sweezey, was found empty on a Kirkland shore on Friday.
— image credit: Contributed Photo

Island resident Richard Sweezey remains missing after his empty boat was found near Kirkland last Friday afternoon.

A search was begun by the King County Sheriff’s Office on Friday evening, but was stopped Sunday morning.

The Sheriff’s spokesperson, Cindi West, said on Monday that the boat had been towed from the scene and there are no further plans at this point to continue the search.

“Unfortunately, we have done everything we can up to this point. We are waiting to see if the Seattle Police Department or the Pierce County Sheriff  can assist is with their sonars.”

According to the Sheriff’s office, a Kirkland resident first reported the boat last Friday to police after it had drifted into the shoreline in the 300 block of Lake Avenue West. A King County Marine unit arrived and found the boat unoccupied.

Deputies started a search of the lake near where the boat was found. Along with the marine unit, the Sheriff’s Office Guardian 1 Helicopter, the U.S. Coast Guard and Seattle Police Marine Patrol assisted in the search.

Deputies found a portable generator onboard running and a tool that was connected to the generator outside the boat dangling into the water.

Deputies attempted to contact the registered owner, Richard Sweezey, at his home in Mercer Island, but no one was home.

The boat is usually moored at a slip at the Queen City Yacht Club in Portage Bay in Seattle.  Sweezey’s car was found at the club in the parking lot.

Deputies spoke to a friend of Sweezey’s at the club who said he had talked to Sweezey at the marina on Friday around 1 p.m. The man said Sweezey had intended to take his boat into the Lake Washington area to do some repairs.  The man said Sweezey had no life jackets, so he gave him one to use for the day. Deputies said the lifejacket was still on the boat when they found it.

“This is a terrible tragedy for the family of the missing man. We hope that we will be able to recover his body to at least being a little peace to his family,” West said.


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