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Southern California man drowns in Colorado River

A Southern California man was found drowned in the Colorado River on Wednesday.

The victim was identified as Robert L. Gardera, 69, of Phelan, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.


Around 3:30 p.m., rowing officials were informed that he had drowned in a river located about four miles north of Lake Havasu.

Witnesses said Gardera jumped from a moored boat to retrieve a fishing rod that had fallen into the river.

Authorities said the man “began to struggle underwater for unknown reasons, dived into the water, and never surfaced again.”

San Bernardino County Sheriffs, Mojave County Sheriffs, and Lake Havasu City Police Department divers were dispatched to the scene to search Gardera.

Authorities conducted a remotely operated vehicle sonar scan along with a rescue dive to locate the missing man. An Arizona Department of Public Safety helicopter also conducted an aerial search.

The search continued until sunset Wednesday, but Gardera has yet to be found. Search operations were suspended until they resumed on Thursday morning.

Gardera’s body was found by divers around 9:30 am. He was confirmed dead at the scene.

“Ms. Gardera has been turned over to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Coroner’s Department,” officials said. “This investigation is ongoing.”

If you have information about this incident, please call Deputy Chief Justin Bacon at the Colorado River Station at 760-326-9200. Anonymous tips can be submitted via the We-Tip hotline at 1-800-7827-463 or online. wetip.com.

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