Ferry route out of service after long-time captain suffers major medical episode

TACOMA, Wash. -- Washington State Ferries has suspended service on the Point Defiance/Tahlequah route after a ferry captain suffered a major medical emergency and struck a dock.

The captain's age, the nature of the medical issue and his condition have not been released.

Ferries spokesman Ian Sterling confirmed he is a long-time employee.

Sterling said a few minutes before the boat's scheduled departure, the captain collapsed and hit the controls, propelling the ferry forward, then hitting one of the dock's aprons.

Crew members quickly jumped in and regained control, then used a defibrillator on the captain before medics arrived and transported him to local hospital.

Those traveling to and from Vashon Island are asked to find alternate routes until repairs on the dock can be completed.

There is no estimate on when the route will reopen.