SILVERADO CANYON – An Orange County Sheriff’s Department diving team on Sunday found the body of a man who fell off a pontoon boat while fishing with a friend on Irvine Lake.
Clarence William Brumfield, 61, of Palmdale, was found approximately 25 feet below the surface, near where he was seen falling overboard from his fishing boat into the water, authorities said.
Rescuers were notified about 5:45 p.m. Saturday that Brumfield had gone overboard and could not be found, said Capt. William Lackey of the Orange County Fire Authority.
Brumfield’s fishing companion told rescuers that he heard a splash at the back of the boat, tried to help pull his buddy back into the boat, and got pulled into the water. But neither man could swim very well, Lackey said.
The friend managed to grab the boat’s anchor line, but Brumfield went under, according to the captain.
There were life jackets aboard the boat, but neither man was wearing one, Lackey said.
Orange County Fire Authority dispatched three swift water rescue teams aided by the Sheriff Department’s airship “Duke” to begin an immediate surface level search during daylight hours. After several hours of active searching by firefighters and deputies, Brumfield was presumed dead and the operation transitioned to a recovery mission. Sheriff’s divers entered the water and searched until shortly after midnight before halting the search due to diminished underwater visibility and lack of sunlight.
At daybreak on Sunday, divers resumed search efforts and located Brumfield’s body at around 11:15 a.m., according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
Coroner investigators responded to conduct the preliminary death investigation. An autopsy is scheduled this week to determine the cause of death and if Brumfield had any pre-existing medical condition.