Nine people are reported safe after their Native-American canoe overturned this morning near Port Townsend.
The nine were recovered by a 45-foot Coast Guard response boat and were taken to John Wayne Marina in Sequim. The Coast Guard said some were experiencing mild hypothermic conditions.]
“We’re not exactly sure what caused the canoe to capsize,” said Amy Nuckolls, public affairs specialist for District 13 of the Coast Guard.
The carved canoe was paddled by tribal members participating in the annual Intertribal Canoe Journey Paddle to Quinault, which draws members of Native-American and First-Nations tribes from throughout the Northwest.
The incident was reported shortly after 7:30 a.m. by Jefferson County authorities.
The Coast Guard said that the canoe overturned about five nautical miles north of Port Townsend. The distress call was reportedly made to Jefferson County via cell phone by one of the people in the water, according to a news release.
The Coast Guard sent a helicopter and a cutter, along with several rescue boats. Units from Station Port Angeles, Station Bellingham and Air Station Port Angeles also responded.