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Washington State Ferry crew saves kitten on Whidbey Island

A purrfect rescue and a new home for wayward cat. #k5evening
Credit: Evan Martin/Kelly Miller
Ferry workers Karre Svansand and Ryan Jones rescuing a kitten

CLINTON, Wash. — All Washington State Ferry crews are trained in rescue. But they seldom save something this cute.

On the Mukilteo/Clinton route this last July, a ferry worker spotted a gray kitten peering out from between the pilings where the ferry lands and reported it to the crew of the boat that was coming in to dock. 

“As we were coming in we were able to spot him on the wing wall, the front two fenders that hold the boat off as we come in,” said Evan Martin, a member of the ferry crew. “It's not an entirely safe spot, so we knew just as soon as we got in, we'd have to do something to try to rescue the cat."

"One of our guys, Evan, tried to grab them. The cat was afraid, jumped overboard, trying to latch on to the boat. And it didn't work. He probably fell about 15 feet into the water was probably drowning at this point,” said Ryan Jones, another member of the ferry crew. 

“As soon as we heard the kitten was in the water I yelled to get the (rescue) boat ready and to launch,” Captain John Brooke said.

The rescue boat was launched with Ryan Jones and Kaare ‘Corey’ Svansand on board.

Credit: Evan Martin/Kelly Miller
Kitten on wing wall piling before falling into water

"As soon as we get in the water with the boat, we go around and you could see where the cat was hanging out on the ladder, and in the barnacles, all wet, poor thing,” Kaare ‘Corey’ Svansand said.

Svansand plucked the kitten from the ladder, then handed it over to Ryan Jones, where it clung to the life vest Jones was wearing.  

"Once they got him in the boat, the cat didn't want to let him go he was kind of mewling very sad.  The worst thing for a cat is being embarrassed. He realized he'd made a mistake at that point and just wanted to hold onto our bosun Ryan and wouldn't let him go,” Martin said. 

It was a picture purrfect rescue. 

"We had the cat back on board within 10 minutes,” Captain Brooke said. 

And the saga of this soggy kitten turned the entire salty crew into a bunch of softies. 

Yeah, it was good. I felt really sorry for the little guy you know, he was just scared to death. Just freezing. Yeah, it felt great,” Jones said. 

“It was quite the memory of my first rescue. It was pretty cool,” Svansand said. 

The kitten was adopted by a ferry worker and named Buoy. And he’s living proof that when it comes to safety, Washington State Ferry crews aren’t kitten around.

"No you don't hesitate, doesn't matter if it's a person, a cat, or a dog. We're gonna go save a life,” Captain Brooke said. 

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