News

'Bong' or 'bomb'? Scare causes 30-minute delay on late-afternoon ferry Friday

Top photo: Sheriff Bill Cumming, Undersheriff Jon Zerby, Deputy Felix Menjivar and the ferry captain question two men suspected of saying they had a bomb on board the state ferry Yakima, Friday. The men were questioned in Friday Harbor. Middle photo, passengers disembark the ferry in Friday Harbor. They had been ordered to move to one side of the ferry at the Lopez ferry landing, while ferry officials made sure the ferry was safe. Bottom photo: the two men, who declined to give their names, walk off the ferry in Friday Harbor after questioning. No arrests were made. - Scott Rasmussen
Top photo: Sheriff Bill Cumming, Undersheriff Jon Zerby, Deputy Felix Menjivar and the ferry captain question two men suspected of saying they had a bomb on board the state ferry Yakima, Friday. The men were questioned in Friday Harbor. Middle photo, passengers disembark the ferry in Friday Harbor. They had been ordered to move to one side of the ferry at the Lopez ferry landing, while ferry officials made sure the ferry was safe. Bottom photo: the two men, who declined to give their names, walk off the ferry in Friday Harbor after questioning. No arrests were made.
— image credit: Scott Rasmussen

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.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the latest Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Aug 20 edition online now. Browse the archives.