Authorities on Thursday afternoon were looking for a missing man who presumably drowned in the Tuolumne River near the Ninth Street Bridge in Modesto, Stanislaus County sheriff's officials said.
The unidentified man last was seen about 2:20 p.m. floating west down the river before his body disappeared into the water, said sheriff's Lt. Mike Parker.
Authorities were looking for a white man who appeared to be in his 70s. Parker said the man also appeared to be a transient, but that had not been confirmed.
He said no one had reported a missing person in that area.
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The incident began about 2:15 p.m. in the river between the Ninth Street and Seventh Street bridges.
An employee from a nearby business spotted the man struggling in the water and screaming for help, Parker said. The employee jumped into the water, while others called for help.
Before the employee could reach him, the man disappeared beneath the water.
Parker said the employee saw the man resurface about 50 yards down the river, floating facedown and unresponsive before his body went underwater again.
Sheriff's deputies responded and began searching along the riverbanks. The Modesto and Ceres fire departments launched boats into the river to aid in the search and a medical helicopter looked for the missing man from above.
The search was called off about 3:30 p.m., Parker said, but deputies will continue to look for the missing man along the banks of the river.
Officials ask anyone with information about the missing man to call the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department at 525-7114. Anyone who sees a body in the river is asked to call 911.
Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at email@example.com or 578-2394.