EVERETT, Wash. (AP) — The Coast Guard has suspended the search for a Tulalip Tribal Police Department officer who was reported missing and presumed dead after the boat he was in capsized when a large rogue wave walloped the vessel on Tuesday night, authorities said.
KOMO-TV reports Officer Charlie Cortez, 29, disappeared after he and Officer Shawn Edge, the 39-year-old boat operator and captain, were thrown overboard shortly before 9 p.m. into the turbulent and 50-degree waters of Puget Sound, according to Everett Fire officials.
In a news release Wednesday, authorities said Edge was rescued near Hat Island by Tulalip Tribal fishermen before he was rushed to Providence Medical Center in Everett for treatment. A spokesperson with the medical center says Edge is in stable condition.
Cortez was said to be the first officer to die in the line of duty with the Tulalip Police Department. Police said he had been on the force with Tulalip police for three years.
The two officers were using their department’s Fisheries 26-foot skiff to help a non-tribal boat owner in distress and were returning to Tulalip Bay when their boat capsized.
Edge was able to call the Coast Guard for help and report their boat had overturned but they quickly lost contact.
Crews from several rescue agencies as well as approximately 40 Tulalip tribal members from their fishing fleet spent 22 hours combing the waters looking for Cortez, but came up empty.
“The Coast Guard and our Navy, state, local and Tribal partners saturated the waters of the Snohomish River to locate the missing police officer, but, unfortunately we were not able to find him after an extensive search,” said Lt. Zachary Kearney with the U.S. Coast Guard, Sector Puget Sound.
“The decision to suspend a search is one of the most difficult decisions the Coast Guard has to make," he said. "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.”