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Public Safety

Search Continues For Man Who Fell Off Crystal Pier

Clouds hover over Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach, Jan. 4, 2016.
Matthew Bowler
Clouds hover over Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach, Jan. 4, 2016.

A man who fell off Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach remained missing Monday morning after a nightlong search by U.S. Coast Guard personnel, authorities said.

Lifeguards from the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department launched the search about 5:30 p.m. Sunday when witnesses reported that a fully clothed 27-year-old man fell off the pier and may have hit his head on the way down, fire department spokeswoman Monica Munoz said. None of the witnesses saw the man resurface after he hit the water.

A lifeguard immediately jumped into the ocean from the pier and was soon joined in the search by a lifeguard boat, a smaller watercraft operated by a lifeguard and a helicopter helping to light the area and search for the man from above, Munoz said. Emergency crews also searched the water from the pier above, and at one point 16 lifeguards were in the water searching for the man under the pier's pilings and in the open water.

Waves were 4 to 6 feet Sunday with strong rip currents in the area.

"During a search such as this, accountability is very important," Munoz said. "The incident commander has to be sure and account for every lifeguard in the water."

Lifeguards eventually called off their search around 7 p.m. Sunday, around the same time a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter and the Coast Guard Cutter Haddock began searching, officials said.

The Coast Guard searched for the victim the entire night without success, Petty Officer Rob Simpson said. The helicopter and the Haddock planned to continue the search "at least through today."

Lifeguards rejoined the search around 6 a.m. Monday.

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