Explosion near docks; two presumed dead

Front page of the Peninsula Daily News:

Explosion near docks; two presumed dead

Early this morning an explosion rocked the docks in the harbor belonging to the Olympic Towers hotel. The explosion occurred around 3:30am this morning, and is believed to have been caused intentionally. Two hotel guests, Heidi and Felix Vella, visiting from Europe, are missing after the explosion, and investigators fear for the worst.

"The fire burned at an intensity high enough to destroy most of the metal on the boat frame. If the couple was on the boat, it would be difficult to expect them to be alive," Randal Gibbons, Port Angeles Chief of Fire explained.

Investigators believe someone of high expertise rigged the engine of the boat to explosive devices, the remains of which were found in the harbor after the explosion. There are many holes in the case, however. "I'm not sure why the guests would be at the harbor at that hour. They didn't have a yacht of their own and we only hold excursions during the day on the weekends," hotel manager Linda White commented. The hotel, though not located on the shoreline, provides spaces for patrons to park their yachts as well as boats for tourists to use on excursions. Hotel security cameras and traffic cameras witnessed the two travelling to the docks at that time, and the couple's car was in the parking lot. There are no remains of any bodies, however, though a portion of a sweater believed to be worn by Heidi that night was found.

There is nothing that links the couple back to malicious activity - "The Vellas are a couple visiting the Port from a small town in Italy. They are vineyard owners, and seem to have lived in the same small town for their entire lives. We're just not sure why they would be targeted with an advanced attack like the one that occurred last night. We can only hope that they somehow made it out alive," the police chief added.

So far, police have no suspects. An investigatory team from Seattle has been called in to help. "We're not equipped to deal with the kinds of criminals that may have executed this attack." Citizens are asked to come forward with any information they might have on the explosion or the whereabouts of Felix and Heidi Vella, and also assured that the town is still safe. "Ordinary citizens shouldn't be afraid…this was not a random attack."

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