Officials have identified the man pulled from the rain-swelled Escondido Creek during Thursday’s powerful storm: a local, who had planned to go surfing in the flood channel near his home when his plans took a dangerous turn.
A report released by the San Diego County Medical Examiner said James Michael Miller, 62, of Escondido, grabbed his surfboard and entered the concrete channel Thursday afternoon at the creek near Rose Street. He had planned to go surfing in the creek swollen by the heavy Valentine’s Day storm.
He was seen getting into the water but after a while, he disappeared. A witness called 911 and a crew with the Escondido Fire Department went to the creek to look for Miller.
Firefighters couldn’t find him, so they called for help from a Swift Water Rescue team. An EFD battalion chief said the man was eventually found in a bush, under rapid water, in the creek. A surf board was found near the body.
The ME report said Miller was pulled from the channel and brought to land. His death was declared at the scene.
Escondido Police Department Sgt. Dan Zandt told NBC 7 people should use precaution when entering flooded areas during and after storms.
This week’s winter storm -- fueled by something called an "atmospheric river" -- overwhelmed the region with record-breaking rainfall that also toppled trees and led to damage, road closures and flooding across the county.
In Fallbrook, drivers trying to cross the flooded thoroughfare of De Luz Road became stuck in the flood waters and also needed crews to rescue them. Those motorists weren’t hurt but the ordeal was quite frightening as the flood waters rose around their vehicles and trees on a nearby hillside began cracking.