When the Washington State Ferry Walla Walla ran aground after losing steering power on its way from Bremerton to Seattle on Friday evening (April 14), the Bainbridge Prepares Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) was put on standby status for possible emergency activation.
The steering power to the ferry cut out sometime around 4:40 p.m., after a possible generator failure, and the 600 passengers and crew aboard the vessel were warned to brace for impact as it became clear the ferry was drifting toward Bainbridge shoreline in Rich Passage. The landing was gentle and no one was injured by the impact with the beach along Pleasant Beach Drive.
Emergency responders warned islanders to stay away from the area as crews arrived on scene to assess the situation. CERT volunteers were instructed to have their gear packs, vests, and IDs at the ready and to wear clothing for a cool evening and rainy weather.
The CERT standby status was cancelled at 9:44 p.m. without anyone having to activate.
The Kitsap Sun reported that galley employees gave away food to the stranded passengers during the hours that people were waiting to be evacuated from the vessel. Two passenger-only ferries shuttled passengers from the ferry to Bremerton. The evacuation wasn’t completed until about 10 p.m.
When the tide rose later that night, WSF was able to tow the stranded ferry to Bremerton where passengers were able to retrieve their cars over the weekend.
Image courtesy of BIFD.
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