Authorities Call Off Search for Ferry Jumper

San Francisco Bay Ferry Facebook Page -- Authorities called off a search for man who jumped into the Oakland-Alameda Estuary from a San Francisco Bay Ferry Sunday afternoon.

Authorities Call Off Search for Ferry Jumper

A passenger on a San Francisco Bay Ferry vessel is presumed dead after jumping into the Oakland-Alameda Estuary Sunday, Aug. 14.

The ferry was on the Oakland & Alameda route traveling toward the Main Street Alameda terminal when the unidentified person, a male, leapt into the estuary around 4 p.m., according to Thomas Hall, public information and marketing manager for San Francisco Bay Ferry/Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA).

“Upon being informed of a person going overboard, the captain turned the vessel around and the crew began attempted rescue operations while local first responders were mobilized,” stated Hall in an email. “The passenger was not able to be rescued by the ferry crew, and first responders took command of the operation upon arrival.”

Local authorities, including a diving team, arrived shortly after. The team searched the waters for the passenger for several hours, but the search was called off around midnight without finding the body, according to Alameda County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) Lt. Ray Kelly. Kelly said there are no plans to come back unless they receive an update. Kelly said the passenger jumped into the water on the Alameda side of the estuary just before the ferry reached the terminal.

After the incident was reported to authorities, San Francisco Bay Ferry canceled the 4:30 and 5 p.m. Downtown San Francisco to Oakland and Alameda ferries due to rescue activities, according to a San Francisco Bay Ferry report. The service was resumed later that day.

Kelly believes the incident was a suicide.

A man overboard is a rare occurrence on a San Francisco Bay Ferry, according to Hall. He said he does not recall another incident during his four years with WETA. Nonetheless, Hall said San Francisco Bay Ferry crews perform monthly “man overboard” drills to be prepared for such incidents.

WETA is continuing to work with local law enforcement and the U.S. Coast Guard to respond and investigate the incident.