MERCER ISLAND --Searchers led by Mercer Island Marine Patrol plan to return to Lake Washington around 10:30 a.m. Monday for the recovery efforts of someone who was seen clinging to a kayak near Newport Shores in Bellevue just before heavy wind and rain struck the area over the weekend.
Mercer Island Police Cmdr. Leslie Burns said that investigators say there might be a connection with a man reported missing Saturday, but it won't known for certain until the body is recovered. Investigators have declined to release the person's name.
Seattle and Mercer Island patrol boats have been in East Channel between Mercer Island and Bellevue over the weekend to see if they can locate a person underwater through sonar before sending divers into the water, Burns said.
"Unfortunately, the lake is covered with logs and rocks and debris in this area," she said.
If the person has been in the Lake Washington since Saturday afternoon, the search mostly likely is a recovery effort, Burns said.
However, there is reason to hope that the person's body will be recovered, she said. The search has been narrowed to a 200-square yard box between Bellevue and Mercer Island and the search area is about 35 feet deep, Burns said. The police divers can go about 100 feet deep, she said.
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, and then disappear into the water, law enforcement and fire officials said Saturday.
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 incident occurred just as the winds and rain were picking up, she said, complicating search efforts in choppy water.
Sunday's weather was more cooperative, Burns said, but the visibility in the water was poor.
"The divers couldn't see their fingertips," she said. The cold conditions also was a factor in the search underwater, she said. The searchers were there between 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday.
Bellevue police took a missing person report on Saturday for a Bellevue man, and are investigating a possible connection, said Officer Carla Iafrate, spokeswoman for the Bellevue Police Department, which is handling the case.
However, she declined to provide any specific information about the case, because investigators are not completely certain that the two incidents are connected.
"That's all we're comfortable saying at this point," she said.
No one has come forward to report to identify anyone missing who had plans to go kayaking on Lake Washington Saturday, Burns said. However, no one has come forward to say that his or her kayak that came loose in Lake Washington in the storm, Iafrate added.