The search for a kayaker, believed to be a 46-year-old Bellevue man, who slipped under the waters of Lake Washington has been suspended, according to the Bellevue and Mercer Island police departments.
Bellevue Police said the kayaker is believed to be Christopher Rominski, 46, whose family reported him missing Saturday, said Bellevue police officer Carla Iafrate. Iafrate said in a statemet released Monday that Rominski's family identified the kayak as his.
Search teams led by the Mercer Island Police marine patrol units conducted searches and dives of East Channel, between Bellevue and Mercer Island, for three days since Saturday, when a homeowner in the Newport Shores neighborhood reported seeing the kayaker clinging to a capsized kayak.
The search will be resumed if there is additional information or more witnesses come forward to narrow down where the kayaker was last seen, according to the Mercer Island police department.
Mercer Island Police Cmdr. Leslie Burns said Sunday the search crews had been concentrating on a 200-square yard area between Bellevue and Mercer Island.
The search began at 3:45 p.m. Saturday after a witness who lives in a home on Newport Shores told police that she saw someone clinging to a capsized kayak before disappearing into the water, law enforcement and fire officials said.
The witness called 9-1-1 immediately, and Mercer Island marine patrol units reached the kayak within minutes of the call, according to the police.
Rescuers recovered a kayak with equipment inside, but no identification, Burns said. Early reports of a life jacket being inside the kayak were incorrect, she said.
A helicopter from the U.S. Coast Guard swept the shorelines and the water surface for any signs of a kayaker, and patrol units from Mercer Island and Seattle searched the water, she said.
The kayaker was seen just as heavy winds and rain were picking up, she said, complicating Saturday's search efforts in choppy water.
Seattle Police Harbor Patrol joined the search, using special sonar equipment, and the U.S. Coast Guard sent a helicopter to assist with the search, which continued through the weekend, according to the Bellevue and Mercer Island police departments.
Family members reported Rominski missing after he failed to return home from a kayaking outing at Bellevue’s . Bellevue Police contacted the family after Rominski’s vehicle was located in the parking lot near the beach, according to a prepared statement by Bellevue police.
Search officials have said since Saturday night that the search has been a recovery effort. Officials said that the cold temperatures in Lake Washington would have made it unlikely that anyone stranded in the water would have survived after a few hours.