Ferry strikes whale near Seattle, officials searching for it

SEATTLE (AP) — Authorities say a ferry hit a whale near Seattle and that the Coast Guard is searching for it.

KING5 television reports the whale breached about five feet (1.5 meters) in front of the M/V Wenatchee during the ferry’s 8:15 p.m. trip from Seattle to Bainbridge Island on Tuesday.

A spokesperson for the Washington State Ferry system said crew members did not see the whale coming and did not have time to maneuver away from it.

The ferry was traveling at about 16 knots, or 18 mph (29 kph), when the whale was hit about three minutes into the ferry’s route.

Passengers who were on the ferry’s passenger deck say they saw an injured whale bleeding and one believed it was a gray whale.

The strike was reported to government officials.