BETHEL ISLAND -- John McGuan, who went missing in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta Sunday afternoon while jet skiing with friends, was found safe and healthy Monday morning on nearby Jersey Island after he spent a night in the weeds and then found a farm house with a phone, authorities and his family said.
McGuan, 29, was missing for about 18 hours before he found a phone. He had left a home near Bethel Island's north coast with two friends Sunday afternoon, but his companions had lost sight of him in the water, U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Mike Lutz said. Contra Costa County Sheriff's deputies responded to the scene and began searching for him around 5 p.m., calling the Coast Guard and a CHP helicopter for help about three hours later, Lutz said.
McGuan told Contra Costa Sheriff's deputies his wave runner had run out of gas and he'd had to swim to shore, sheriff's spokesman Jimmy Lee said.
McGuan's father, Larry McGuan, said he'd been on the phone with a family rabbi, asking for advice about how to break the possibly tragic news to his wife, when the call came in that his son was just fine.
"Now I can finally get some sleep, I guess," McGuan said. "I'm tickled. I'm so relieved. I have a lot of confidence in these kids they stay level headed when they're in a tight spot. The delta can be a hairy place if you don't know your way around, and he doesn't."
McGuan said he was able to speak for about 30 seconds with his son on the
"He told me that aside from being sunburned and spending a night in the weeds, he was just fine," McGuan said. "He was pretty upbeat."
McGuan said his son, a trained and educated counselor who works with foster children, had gotten some survival training going hiking and camping in back country, in the Sierra Nevada when he was young and later as a student in Colorado.
The county sheriff's marine patrol took the opportunity to emphasize some safety tips for boaters: Always have a float plan, keep a cell phone wrapped watertight in a bag or container, and keep the phone programmed with the sheriff's dispatch phone line, 925-646-2441.
Contact Sean Maher at 925-943-8013. Follow him at Twitter.com/OneSeanMaher.