Rescue swimmers and divers with the Seattle Fire Department began a search Sunday afternoon for a missing paddleboarder who was seen falling into the water in the Lake Washington Ship Canal and then did not resurface.
The paddleboarder, who is believed to be a 46-year-old woman, reportedly went missing near the 5200 block of 40th Avenue West, in an area of the ship canal west of the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks and near the Salmon Bay Bridge for trains.
Before 5 p.m. Sunday, “we received a 911 call of a person on a paddleboarder who was witnessed going under and not surfacing,” said Fire Department spokesperson Kristin Tinsley.
The department sent two rescue swimmers, two rescue divers, a crew in a fireboat and a rescue dog to find the paddleboarder. Rescue dogs can sometimes catch a person’s scent from shore, Tinsley said. The Seattle Police Department’s harbor patrol unit also responded.
Tinsley said bystanders on shore called 911. A paddleboard was later recovered. A family member was at the scene and described the missing woman to rescuers.
The woman was not wearing a life jacket, Tinsley said, citing bystander reports.
Just after 6 p.m. and after an hour of searching, the SPD took over the scene to lead a recovery effort, according to a Fire Department tweet.