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Weather Hampers Search Effort on Buena Vista Creek-Updated

Update: Around 12:30 Saturday afternoon, Oceanside Lifeguards and a Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV aka “Drone”) from the Carlsbad Fire Department completed an additional search of the Buena Vista Creek area where the incident occurred on Friday.  No bodies were found. However, a blue and white cooler, dark blanket and blue tarp were located in the area near where the reported victim was seen with white hair and a blue jacket. 

No additional searches of the area are anticipated.  Additionally the Oceanside Fire Department would like to remind people in light of the upcoming storm to avoid any area with moving water or standing water over ankle deep.  The power of water is deceiving and once someone is swept off their feet, it is too late to turn around and seek safer ground.

Oceanside CA— An individual who was driving his car eastbound on Hwy 78 around noon on Friday, reported seeing an older male struggling in the rising waters of Buena Vista Creek. The reporting party was slowing down in his truck as he exited at El Camino Real and looked south where he spotted the man in the water. A full water rescue response was generated and resources deployed all along and downstream of the reported location in an effort to locate the person reported to be in distress. When crews were unable to locate the victim, the reporting party was called back and he returned to the scene and meet with responders to take them to the area he had seen the victim.

After establishing a perimeter, Fire and Lifeguard crews walked the area of Buena Vista Creek in the area where the reporting party has seen the victim. Unfortunately, the ground crews were still not able to find a victim. Additional fire crews put up an aerial ladder to try and get a better view of the area. Unfortunately, due to the heavy rain, high winds, rising water and heavy vegetation in the area, crews were not able to visualize all of the areas in the creek bed. In order to search the last remaining areas, a request was placed for a US Coast Guard helicopter. After talking with the local National Weather Service office, it was determined that there could possibly be a let up in the wind and rain between 1:45 and 2:15 pm. The Coast Guard helicopter launched to take advantage of this weather window and arrived on scene at 2 pm.

Unfortunately, the weather deteriorated quickly after they arrived and the Coast Guard helicopter was able to conduct only a single low speed, low altitude search of the creek between El Camino Real and Jefferson. Operating in nearly 40 knot winds, as well as increasing rain and lowering visibility, the Coast Guard crew used both visual and infra-red cameras but were also unable to see any signs of anyone in the area. Therefore, the decision was made to terminate the search at 2:20 pm in the interest of the safety of the responders.

When the water levels in Buena Vista Creek decrease and the weather improves, a decision will be made to possibly search the immediate area again using Lifeguard personnel.

Along with the Coast Guard, Mutual Aid was provided the Carlsbad and Vista Fire Departments