A man who drowned off the Oceanside Pier Friday was joking with his girlfriend before he stripped off his clothes and jumped into the dark ocean water, police said.
The victim, identified now by the San Diego County Medical Examiner's office as Oceanside resident Mariano Aguilar Soto, 27, jumped into the water just after 3 a.m. Soto one time served as a U.S. Marine.
The man told his girlfriend he was going to swim to shore, police said.
However, after the hitting the water, the man was pulled under the pier. He tried to hold onto the pier’s pilings but the current swept him out into the open water, Oceanside police said. Aguilar Soto was unable to swim back toward the beach.
His girlfriend, who watched the entire thing unfold, called 911 for help. A teenager from Menifee, California, was also on the pier and heard the man yelling for help.
The witness ran to the beach and swam out to where the victim was last seen but could not locate him, police said.
Oceanside Fire and Police crews arrived just a few minutes after the initial call.
Officers said the man was believed to be a good swimmer.
Lifeguards were called to the scene from home given the early morning hours. At 5 a.m., a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter began a grid search of the area.
Just before 6:30 a.m., the man’s body was found approximately a quarter of a mile north of the pier and 800 feet from shore.
He was confirmed dead.
The investigation is ongoing. No further details were released.