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'Bong' or 'bomb'? Scare causes 30-minute delay on late-afternoon ferry Friday
A bomb scare that caused a 30-minute delay on a late afternoon ferry bound for Friday Harbor turned out to be either a hoax, or, depending on who you ask, a big misunderstanding.
"What we were talking about was taking some 'bong' hits and somebody I guess thought we said we had a bomb," said one of two men confronted by local authorities when the Yakima arrived at the Friday Harbor ferry landing at about 4:35 p.m. "I'm moving away from the island and we're having a party later on tonight."
Several ferry riders said they heard otherwise, however, and reported overhearing the two men saying they were terrorists and that they had a bomb among their belongings, according to Sheriff Bill Cumming.
Cumming said that no explosives were found following a search of the boat by the captain and crew, who herded passengers to one side of the boat when it arrived at Lopez Island in order to conduct the search.
The two men were questioned by local authorities when the ferry arrived in Friday Harbor. Their belongings were searched; no arrests were made.
Cumming said public safety personnel began preparing for a full-scale emergency after receiving a call from the Yakima about a possible bomb onboard. The response was scaled down after the ferry was determined to be safe following the search at Lopez.
Cumming, one of three officers at the scene, said identifications were checked and photos were taken of the two men. He said that information, as well as the incident report, would be forwarded to state and federal authorities, including the FBI.
As for a misunderstanding, Cumming isn't buying it.
"I think they said 'bong' just to cover their tracks," he said.