Former Marine dies after jumping off Oceanside Pier in front of girlfriend
OCEANSIDE (KUSI) —A 27-year-old former Marine died Friday morning after he jumped off the Oceanside Pier in front of his girlfriend and was swept out to sea, authorities said.
His body was retrieved from the water about a half-mile off the coast following an extensive three-hour search in the air and on the water involving Oceanside police, lifeguards and the U.S. Coast Guard, Oceanside police Lt. Adam Knowland said.
The victim’s identity was withheld pending family notification, but the lieutenant described him as a North County man in his mid-20s.
Police received the call at 3:05 a.m. Friday of a person who jumped off the pier and "immediately became distressed upon hitting the water,” Knowland said. An Oceanside lifeguard said the pier is 30 feet high, give or take a few feet depending on the tide.
"This was not a suicide,” Knowland said. "He was with his girlfriend and got a wild hair … he just jumped off after stripping down into his underwear.”
A witness nearby noticed the man struggling in the water and clinging to a pylon and tried to swim out to rescue him, Knowland said. But when the witness arrived at the location where he’d last seen the victim, the jumper was gone.
Oceanside police sent officers to search from the pier above and a rescue vessel to search the water, while lifeguards went into the surf on paddle boards and WaveRunners and the Coast Guard sent a helicopter, Knowland said. The rip current in the area was strong, pulling the paddle-boarding life guards quickly away from shore in a northwest direction.
At 6:05 a.m., the rescue boat found the victim’s body about a half-mile away from shore, the lieutenant said. Multiple news crews on scene reported the girlfriend collapsed into a lifeguard’s arms upon hearing of the discovery.
The San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office took custody of the body to determine the official cause of death.