On the evening of Feb. 17, Deputies of the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office, Joyce Fire Department, U.S. Border Patrol and U.S. Coast Guard responded to a boating accident on the ocean near Highway 112, milepost 34.5, Clallam Bay. The accident resulted in the death of one local resident, Ryan Romero, age 35.
At around 11:24 p.m., Jessica Johnson, age 34, called 9-1-1 to report that she had been the passenger in a dingy that had capsized in the ocean near Highway 112, milepost 34.5, an area commonly known as Deep Creek.
Jessica further reported that after the boat had capsized, she began to swim to shore with her fiancé, Ryan Romero, who was the operator of the boat. Jessica stated that she had lost sight of Ryan in the surf while she was swimming just in front of him to the shore. After Jessica arrived on the shore, she travelled back to their beachfront property and contacted emergency services.
A multi-agency search of the area was conducted by resources including the Joyce Fire Department, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Border Patrol and Clallam County Sheriff’s Office.
At 12:32 a.m., a Coast Guard helicopter from Port Angeles located the overturned dingy in the surf, east of where it had overturned. At 2:36 a.m., a Clallam County Sheriff’s Deputy and U.S. Border Patrol Agent located Ryan Romero on the beach where he was later declared deceased. The case is under further investigation by the Clallam County Coroner’s Office. The likely cause of death is drowning. There is no suspicion of foul play.
Neither person was wearing personal flotation devices. The weather consisted of a snow/hail mix at approximately 33 degrees Fahrenheit, with winds up to 42 miles per hour. Next-of-kin notification has been made.