News

Dad feared drowned

By Lori Varosh

King County Journal Reporter

A 36-year-old Kirkland man, William Taylor, is presumed dead after a drowning accident in Lake Washington Sunday afternoon.

Taylor's 3-year-old son, found alone in a speedboat idling off the north end of Mercer Island, told rescuers his father had jumped overboard and never resurfaced.

One of Taylor's two beagles apparently dove into the water, and he went in after the dog, said Walt Mauldin, Mercer Island fire chief.

Taylor was presumed drowned as the search was suspended at dusk on Sunday. It's not unusual for the chilly waters to cause shock, disorientation and death, Mauldin said. ``The dog was in a life jacket; the man was not,'' he said.

Two passing boaters found the boy in the boat and called 911 at 3:29 p.m. Sunday. Divers from four police agencies responded but were unable to find the man.

The child's mother picked the boy up at the Mercer Island fire station Sunday evening, where he had been in the care of a firefighter and his wife.

The boaters called 911 before conducting their own search; they found only a pair of tennis shoes floating nearby.

Though divers arrived promptly, they did not know how much the boat had drifted, Mauldin said. Dive teams from the Renton Fire Department, Seattle police and King County Sheriff Marine Patrol helped the Mercer Island dive team with the search, which was concentrated to a 1000-yard swath about 100 yards off Luther Burbank Park.

The water is up to 90 feet deep, visibility is poor and ``hypothermia is definitely an issue,'' said Mauldin, who by evening was characterizing the search as ``a recovery operation.''

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