Samuel Carter, 30, apparently drowned after falling off "E" dock at the Port of Friday Harbor about 12:00 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 23, according to San Juan County Prosecutor Randy Gaylord.
According to Gaylord, Brian Fox, described as a friend of Carter's walking some distance behind, saw Carter tumble into the water and rushed to help, but Carter surfaced only briefly, immediately disappeared under the water and did not resurface. Possible alcohol involvement was noted in reports from the scene, but autopsy results will not be available until sometime next week, according to Gaylord.
EMS Chief Jim Cole said that an emergency call was received at 12:13 p.m. Fire, sheriff's and EMS units responded "immediately," arriving "within minutes," but could find no sign of Carter. A Sheriff's dive team was summmoned, locating Carter's drowned body in about twelve feet of of 45 degree water at 2:30 a.m.
Carter grew up in Friday Harbor and is believed to be a 2001 graduate of Friday Harbor High School. According to a long-time friend, local arborist Casey Baisch, Carter fished commercially in Alaska in the Summer, lived in Friday Harbor in the Fall, and snowboarded and worked at Lake Tahoe in the winter.
Baisch described Carter as "one of the best and nicest people I've ever known, a wonderful young man who I counted as one of my best friends." Port of Friday Harbor Director Marilyn O'Connor, who knows Carter and his family, said, "This is just heartbreaking for the family and the whole community, and for me personally."
— Steve Wehrly