An Oceanside man’s claim that his wife had drowned in the San Luis Rey River prompted already busy rescue crews to search the murky water until she was eventually located at the couple’s home, authorities said.
A family riding bicycles along a stretch of the river near Interstate 5 came across the frantic man in his mid-30s around 3:15 p.m. Sunday. He told them in Spanish his wife had disappeared while swimming in the river, Oceanside Fire Department Battalion Chief Peter Lawrence said.
One of the family members called 911 and flagged down a fire official who was en route to check out a report of a capsized boat in the Oceanside Harbor, which also turned out to be unfounded. The man said he could feel the top of the woman’s head in the murky water, Lawrence said.
The report prompted authorities to send additional firefighters, police and lifeguards. Lawrence said several lifeguards and members of dive teams descended the river’s steep, rocky bank and scoured the area for about 20 minutes.
As the search was underway, the man was evaluated by paramedics and questioned by Oceanside Police officers.
Officers were also sent to the couple’s home, Lawrence said. They found the uninjured woman inside the residence and she told them she had not gone to the river with her husband.
However, the man continued to claim his wife had drowned in the river even after he was confronted with evidence his wife was at home, Lawrence said. He was cleared medically, but was taken into police custody for further evaluation.
—City News Service
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