May 26, 2016.
POULSBO, Wash. – A truck and the body of a missing Department of Transportation worker were recovered from the deep waters below the Hood Canal Bridge early Thursday morning.
Video from Air 4 showed crews recovering what appeared to be a body first, then later pulling the maroon pickup truck that had been discovered earlier this week in 344 feet of water about 150 feet north of the floating span.
The Kitsap County Medical Examiner identified the victim Friday as 59-year-old Bruce Hilton Cowing.
“Those who knew our coworker will remember him as a champion for safety,” acting WSDOT secretary Roger Millar said. “He will be remembered for his willingness to respond to any need at the bridge, to help other employees with tasks, and to be fully involved in his job. We will find a way to move forward from this tragedy, as we have no other choice. However, we will hold his memory close to our hearts and minds, as we do with all our fallen coworkers.”
Searchers began looking for Cowing on Tuesday when he went missing after a Monday work shift. Evidence at the scene indicated that he drove through a pedestrian barrier and off the bridge’s lower deck.
No one saw him go in. The missing section of barrier wasn’t discovered until Tuesday morning when Cowing’s wife called to ask where he was.
The Coast Guard, the Washington State Patrol and other local marine units took part in the search. An unmanned submersible was later brought in to aid in searching the bottom of the canal.
The family has released this statement:
“These last 10 days have been the hardest days our collective family has had to face. We are united in extending our gratitude to the search crews who have worked so many long hours to recover our loved one, and to the WSDOT Hood Canal Bridge crew and management for their kindness and compassion throughout this ordeal… As we move forward to put our loved one to rest and begin the healing process, we thank all those who have extended thoughts, prayers and condolences.
“Thank you all for your kindness and support during this time.”
The State Patrol is continuing to investigate the fatal incident.