Amid strong winds and downpour, firefighters, lifeguards and U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) officials launched a search Friday at Buena Vista Creek in Carlsbad for a man that a witness reported seeing in the water.
Crews from several North County agencies – including the Oceanside, Vista and Carlsbad fire departments and Oceanside Lifeguards – rushed to Buena Vista Creek around 12:15 p.m. for the search and possible swift water rescue.
The U.S. Coast Guard launched a helicopter around 2 p.m to the scene to assist ground crews in the search.
Witnesses told officials that they saw a man in the creek and then, suddenly, he was gone. Witnesses believed the man was still in the water, so they called authorities for help.
Crews began scouring the water in search of the possible victim but were unable to locate him, even with the help of infra-red cameras.
The USCG helicopter planned to conduct an aerial search during a half-hour window when the weather was expected to let up a little bit. But due to inclement weather, the chopper was unable to locate anyone.
The operation came in the middle of Friday's powerful winter storm -- the second in a series of three storms pummeling San Diego County this weekend.
A battalion chief with the Oceanside Fire Department said crews were doing everything they could to find the man reportedly seen in the water including walking up and down creek and creating a perimeter around the water.
As of 2:20 p.m., there was still no sign of the man. USCG officials were unable to find him in their aerial search, so the operation was called off.
With the heavy, cold rain and wind, the battalion chief said the search conditions were miserable – the worst crews could endure during a rescue effort. The creek was also littered with debris from the storm.