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Sailor missing in East Channel
Islander finds dog alive on Saturday
By J. Jacob Edel
Mercer Island Reporter
Divers searched again Monday morning for a Renton man who apparently fell overboard while sailing last Thursday evening, Dec. 27, in the East Channel of Lake Washington. A dog reported to be with the man was found this past weekend by an Island resident in the 6000 block of East Mercer Way. The dog, a black Labrador, has been returned to the Renton man’s roommate.
The boater was listed as a missing person several hours after the Mercer Island Marine Patrol could not locate the man on Friday morning.
According to Detective Pete Erickson of the Mercer Island Police Department, it appeared that the man and his dog went overboard sometime Thursday evening while boating in south Lake Washington. The missing man moors his 25-foot sailboat, “Smokey,” in a Seattle marina but was last seen at Coulon Beach Park in Renton.
The 40-year-old man from Renton was last seen leaving the marina at Coulon Beach around 4:30 p.m., Thursday.
Erickson also said police spoke with the missing man’s roommate, whose last contact with his friend was while he was at Coulon Beach. The missing man apparently told his roommate he planned to spend another evening out on the lake. It was believed the man was en route to the Barbee Mill area, which is located on the west side of Lake Washington in Renton.
At about 9:30 a.m., Friday, police received a phone call reporting a sailboat drifting alongside a waterfront property dock in the 4100 block of East Mercer Way. The marine patrol then transported the vessel searched for the man until 1:30 p.m., Friday.
A Coast Guard helicopter based in Port Angeles was used to assist the search team for about an hour, with a Seattle police patrol boat. Both MIPD marine patrol vessels were used in the search.
Police investigators responded to the scene but did not find signs of foul play on board the sailboat. Investigators believe the man may be the victim of an accidental drowning.
The marine patrol found the sailboat unoccupied with a few items onboard which were consistent with a person staying on board the boat overnight, such as a flashlight and food.
Sgt. Lance Davenport of the MIPD checked the docked vessel after the search for the missing man ended Friday, but there were no additional clues indicating when or where the man may have fallen overboard.
Neither the man nor his relatives have been identified by police.