Body found in Santa Ana River may be tied to Christmas Eve rescue effort

Local news

A body was found in the Santa Ana River in coastal Orange County Tuesday, and authorities are investigating whether the grim discovery is tied to a sighting that prompted a recent rescue effort near the area.

First responders from multiple agencies were dispatched to the riverbed around noon Tuesday after someone reported seeing a body floating in the water in an unincorporated part of the county. The area borders Huntington Beach, Newport Beach and Costa Mesa. 

When the responders arrived at the Victoria Street Bridge, they spotted the dead man in the river, moving toward the Pacific Ocean, officials said. 

Eventually, he was recovered from the water. A cause of death was not immediately known.  

“There was nothing to indicate anything suspicious at this time. But that’s all going to be reviewed,” said Sgt. Todd Hylton of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. 

One thing authorities are looking into is whether the man is the same person they were trying to rescue from the river about 4 miles up in Santa Ana on Dec. 24. 

On that day, rescuers searched for hours after someone reported seeing a body. The search was ultimately called off with nothing found. 

“The Fire Authority on the 24th of December was looking for a subject in the water,” Hylton said. “It’s unknown at this time if this … is related to that incident, but that will definitely be investigated.” 

The county coroner’s office is investigating the death and will also identify him.

No further details were immediately released. 

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