NEAR LONG BEACH (CBSLA) — Authorities Thursday were searching for a person who reportedly fell overboard the Catalina Express off the coast of Long Beach.
According to the Long Beach Fire Department, a crew member saw a 24-year-old man jump off the boat shortly after it departed Long Beach on its way to Avalon and threw him a life ring.
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“Deckhands actually saw some of it, so when they saw him hit the water, they threw a life ring over and here we are looking for him,” Greg Bombard, president of Catalina Express, said.
Authorities later located the life ring and used that site as the “point last seen” for the search effort, which included personnel from the U.S. Coast Guard, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, and Long Beach and Los Angeles city and county fire departments.
Some passengers on the boat said they felt the situation could have been handled better.
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“He just seemed a little out of sorts walking onto the boat, and then we didn’t see what happened, but we circled the water for two hours,” Domina Woods, a passenger, said. “I just feel it should have been handled a little differently, maybe alerting the passengers as to what was going on so that we weren’t all confused and anxious.”
Authorities said the search effort would continue throughout the night, though efforts were downgraded shortly before 10 p.m. to two aircraft and four vessels.
As for the passengers on the boat, they returned to the Port of Long Beach shortly before 8 p.m. where they were allowed to board a different boat and continue their journey to Avalon.
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Bombard said that in all 40 years they have been in business, nothing like this has ever happened.