Man spent night near Lake Kaweah after swimming to shore with broken-down jet ski

TULARE COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- An hours-long search at Lake Kaweah is over after a missing man was found Monday morning.

The man's jet ski had a mechanical failure before sunset on Sunday night.

He stayed with it, while a woman passenger swam to shore to get help.

The Tulare County Sheriff's Office then started a search.

They found the man's truck parked at Slick Rock Recreation Area.

Later, they found the jet ski on the opposite side of the lake.

The man was still missing, but Sgt. Alan Knight said it appeared the jet ski had been beached by someone.

"So we knew or at least had a pretty good feeling that somebody had made it to the shore," Sgt. Alan Knight said. "Now it was just a matter of finding this guy."

Deputies also placed a note on the missing man's car.

At about 10:30 Monday morning, they received notice the man was at his truck-alive and well.

He told them he swam with the jet ski to the opposite shore and spent the night nearby.

The area is remote, and it would have been too dark and dangerous to hike out.

"He said he had been out here all night, stranded," said Visalia's Chris Coffman.

Coffman was fishing with his son when he spotted the man at about 9:30 Monday morning--wearing a life jacket and holding a log to float back to the other side of the lake.

At the time, Coffman had no idea the man had been reported missing and offered him a ride to shore.

The man agreed.

"I love a great ending to a great story, so it was great," Coffman said.

"He'll need a shower and a good night's sleep but he'll be fine," Knight said.
Copyright © 2019 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.