A patrol boat heads across Possession Sound while the search for a Tulalip police officer missing from a capsized Tulalip fisheries boat continues Wednesday near Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

A patrol boat heads across Possession Sound while the search for a Tulalip police officer missing from a capsized Tulalip fisheries boat continues Wednesday near Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Officer who was tossed overboard presumed to be dead

Hours after their patrol boat capsized, a second officer was rescued late Tuesday near Hat Island.

UPDATE, 4:38 p.m. Thursday: The search by the U.S. Coast Guard for the missing Tulalip tribal police officer was suspended late Wednesday. But members of the Tulalip Tribes and various other government agencies were continuing to look for him, the Tulalip News reported in a Facebook post.

“The decision to suspend a search is one of the most difficult decisions the Coast Guard has to make,” Coast Guard Lt. Zachary Kearney said in a statement. “We search as if one of our own is missing. Our hearts go out to the family and friends of the missing Tulalip Tribal officer.”

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of officer Charlie Cortez is asked to call Sector Puget Sound at 206-217-6001.

Original story below.


 

EVERETT — A day after two Tulalip Tribes police officers were thrown from a boat by a rogue wave near Jetty Island, a massive search was conducted for one of the men Wednesday.

The missing officer was identified as Charlie Cortez, 29. He is presumed to have drowned, the tribes said. He would be the first officer from the department to die in the line of duty.

“As our search-and-rescue mission transitions into a search and recovery, we are heartbroken,” tribal Chairwoman Teri Gobin said in a statement. “Our people are connected to the water and we know the risk when we go out. Today we lost a good man, a father, brother and son.”

The boat’s captain, fisheries officer Shawn Edge, was rescued late Tuesday from the frigid water by Tulalip fishermen.

Charlie Cortez (Tulalip Tribes)

Charlie Cortez (Tulalip Tribes)

Cortez and Edge were on patrol in the Tulalip Police Department fisheries vessel when a surprise wave capsized the 24-foot boat around 8:30 p.m. They called for help, but the radio transmission was lost after first contact, according to the Everett Fire Department.

Through heavy rain, choppy water and gusts up to 45 mph, first-responders searched along Jetty Island and eventually found the overturned boat around 11:10 p.m. The officers were nowhere nearby.

Fishermen on a private boat found Edge, 39, floating around 11:45 p.m. near Hat Island — 3½ miles west of Jetty Island. He was wearing a life jacket and was hypothermic but conscious. He spoke with rescuers and was taken to the Tulalip Bay Marina for initial care, then to Providence Regional Medical Center Everett. He was recovering at the hospital.

Law enforcement agencies congregated at the marina Wednesday. In the distance, boats patrolled the waters under a slate-gray sky as a helicopter circled above. Wind and rain had died down considerably.

Camano Island Fire and Rescue, Everett Fire, Everett Police, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, Marysville Fire, Naval Station Everett, Port of Everett, Snohomish County Fire District 22, Tulalip Bay Fire and Tulalip Police aided in the search.

Combined, teams searched 835 square nautical miles by sea and air as of Wednesday afternoon, U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Brett Ettinger said.

Authorities believed they pinned down an approximate area where the boat overturned — in fairly shallow water, as the officers were trying to navigate back to the Snohomish River for shelter from the storm. They were broadsided by the wave.

Gobin said she appreciated the outpouring of help, which included 13 agencies.

“Our hands go up to the many fishermen and rescue workers who answered the call to find the missing officer,” she said. “In the face of tragedy, our community came together and will continue to come together as we take care of his family.”

Tulalip Police Chief Chris Sutter described Cortez as “a wonderful man and officer.”

Cortez was an enrolled member of the Tulalip Tribes.

“We are devastated by this loss,” Sutter said in a statement. “Tulalip Fish and Wildlife are often called upon to conduct searches such as this one. I know Charlie would have been there for you, and I can’t say thank you enough to the many individuals and agencies that came together to be there for him. The search for our missing officer will continue until he is brought home.”

Crews planned to keep searching through the night Wednesday if the weather stayed calm enough.

Reporters Caleb Hutton and Eric Stevick contributed to this story.

Zachariah Bryan: 425-339-3431; zbryan@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @zachariahtb.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Amethyst Skeels and Alexander Walsh pick out cannabis products at Kushman's Everett Cannabis Dispensary on Evergreen Way on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020 in Everett, Washington.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Cannabis sales surge, proving pot is pandemic-proof

There are more customers, and some regulars are stocking up — just in case there’s a shortage.

Leslie Bringedahl grabs a bag containing books she and her husband Mark ordered after Circulation Manager Carol  puts them down on a wall during curbside pickup at the Everett Public Library on Wednesday, June 17, 2020 in Everett, Wa.(Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Everett council looks to fund fireworks, Jetty Island ferry

The Carl Gipson Senior Center and boosting library funding are also “quality of life” priorities.

Police: Suspect in fatal hit-and-run may have used marijuana

The Lynnwood man allegedly didn’t stop to check on a pedestrian whom he hit with a pickup truck.

Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman talks to reporters in her office, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. Wyman was talking about a series of election- and ballot-security bills her office is asking the Washington Legislature to consider during the current session. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Washington secretary of state certifies election results

Joe Biden will receive the state’s 12 electoral votes at the Electoral College on Dec. 14.

Santa Claus is coming to town, despite the coronavirus

He’ll follow social distancing. In one setting, children are invited to “call out” their wishes.

Driver arrested after allegedly hitting woman in crosswalk

The suspect was driving an SUV on Highway 99 in Lynnwood and is under investigation for DUI.

COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths continue to rise

A new exposure notification app is here, and vaccines are on the way, but the virus continues to surge.

16,000 fentanyl pills, pounds of meth, heroin seized in bust

Eight suspects were indicted in U.S. District Court in Seattle, including five from Snohomish County.

The 2021 Historic Everett calendar focuses on the city’s railroad past, present and future. (Historic Everett, Jack O’Donnell collection photo)
A nostalgic glimpse at how trains shaped Everett

“There is a romance to it,” says a Historic Everett member who researched railroads for a 2021 calendar.

Most Read