The Patterson Water Rescue unit and Patterson District Ambulance responded to a possible drowning at the Crows Landing Bridge about 8 p.m. last night (Friday, August 30).
The operation has since been reclassified to a body recovery operation after an apparent suicide, Patterson Police Services Police Chief Marc Nuno confirmed by phone late this morning (Saturday). The Sheriff’s Department has been in contact with the family of the victim, he said. “Based on the information we got last night… it’s no longer a rescue, it’s a recovery. Based on what we have right now, it looks like it was an apparent suicide.”
Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Jesus Sigala said at the scene last night that there had been a 911 report that a subject had fallen into the river and was struggling to stay above water, which prompted “a full response” from emergency services, he said, including the Sheriff’s air rescue unit. The PHI Air Medical helicopter was also in the air, and CHP was on the scene early in the incident.
A man was observed going over the rail and diving into the water, Nuno said, and “never came back up.”
One witness on the scene called 911 while the other recorded the incident on a cell phone.
The man may also have been in contact with the Modesto Police Department recently on a separate suicide attempt, although this has not been verified.
Nuno said the water was deemed too swift for the dive team to safely continue the search today. Asked when efforts might begin again, Nuno said it depends on the conditions. “Right now, it’s just a matter of time; we hope that the body is spotted somewhere.”
Nuno said the victim’s family has been “understanding – they see that we are doing something.”