A Southern California man was found dead after drowning in the Colorado River on Wednesday.

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

Boating deputies received reports of a drowning in the river, located about 2.5 miles north of Lake Havasu around 3:30 p.m. 

According to witnesses, Gardella jumped from an anchored vessel to retrieve a fishing pole that had fallen into the river.

He began “struggling in the water for an unknown reason, went under the water and never resurfaced,” authorities said.

Divers from the San Bernardino County Sheriff, Mohave County Sheriff and Lake Havasu City Police were dispatched to the scene to search for Gardella.

Authorities conducted remote-operated vehicle sonar scans along with rescue dives to locate the missing man. A helicopter from the Arizona Department of Public Safety also conducted aerial searches. 

The search continued through sunset on Wednesday but Gardella had not yet been found. Search operations were paused before restarting on Thursday morning.

At around 9:30 a.m., Gardella’s body was located by divers. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

“Gardella was turned over to the care of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Coroner Division,” officials said. “This investigation is ongoing.”

Anyone with information on this incident is asked to call Deputy Justin Bacon of the Colorado River Station at 760-326-9200. Anonymous tips can be submitted to the We-Tip Hotline at 1-800-7827-463 or online at wetip.com.