Man dies in ocean near Quinault River

He was located after a search and rescue effort was initiated

A search for a man reported missing on the coast near the Quinault River Friday afternoon ended when his body was discovered by the Coast Guard several hours later.

The victim was identified Monday as Justin H. M. Ward, 20, of Puyallup, by the Grays Harbor County Coroner’s Office; the cause of death is identified as drowning.

The search was started when family members saw the victim wade into the ocean near the mouth of the river, according to a news release from Police Chief Mark James of the Quinault Public Safety Department. Taholah Emergency Management initiated a search and rescue effort at 5:10 p.m. for the man, with assistance from other county emergency departments and the U.S. Coast Guard.

Coast Guard personnel located Ward’s body at about 7:30 p.m. and transported it to Westport, where it was transferred to the Grays Harbor County Coroner’s Office.

Investigators do not believe drugs or alcohol were factors, James said in an email. James said that anyone on the water should take care; the water is very cold even in hot weather, and people should wear a flotation device any time they’re on the water.

Contact Senior Reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757-621-1197 or

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