Mandrives off pier in apparent suicide

Published on Thu, Nov 23, 2006 by ack Kintner

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Man drives off pier in apparent suicide

By Jack Kintner

A Blaine man in his 20s died last Thursday afternoon after driving his car into the water off the public pier at the entrance to Drayton Harbor.

Blaine police had been alerted by a report that the man was distraught, and found and stopped his vehicle near Blaine Harbor. As soon as the officer got out of his car, however, the man sped away down Marine Drive, on to the public pier and through the barricade into the water.

Despite an almost immediate response by Blaine police and a U.S. Coast Guard boat and helicopter that happened to be patrolling the area at the time, neither the driver nor the car were located and after several hours the search was halted due to dangerous conditions.

“The current in the 60-foot deep channel between Drayton Harbor and Semiahmoo Bay was moving very fast from recent high rains and visibility in the water was essentially zero,” according to police reports, which necessitated using a search grid.

Sheriff’s deputies, who joined the search Thursday night, found the vehicle the next morning in 60 feet of water about 100 feet from the edge of the public pier using a sonar unit.

The driver was found inside and was recovered Friday afternoon. The weather calmed down enough to allow the vehicle to be raised off the bottom on Saturday.

The identity of the driver is being withheld pending notification of family members. Police said that apparently no other people were on the pier at the time of the incident.

The Port of Bellingham has closed the public pier until safety repairs can be made to the railing.