Angler dies jumping into river to get his dropped fishing pole, California cops say

A man died after jumping in a river to get a dropped fishing pole, a California sheriff’s department said.

Witnesses reported seeing Robert L. Gardella, 69, of Phelan, on the Colorado River, about 2 ½ miles north of Lake Havasu, when he jumped from his anchored boat on Wednesday, May 24, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said in a news release.

Gardella “began struggling in the water” before going underwater, deputies said. He didn’t resurface.

The sheriff’s department said it and other agencies searched the waters for Gardella. The Arizona Department of Public Safety also searched the area by helicopter.

Deputies said they looked for the man until sunset and began searching again the next morning.

About an hour and a half into searching on May 25, divers found Gardella, who was recovered and pronounced dead, deputies said.

Lake Havasu is along the California-Arizona border. Phelan is about 75 miles northeast of Los Angeles.

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