CHICO (KCBS) – Search and rescue teams have been combing the brushy areas along the Sacramento River near Chico for a Lafayette man who disappeared during a Labor Day float down the river.
Brett Olson, a student at California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo, was last seen on land Sunday at Beer Can Beach talking to friends from another school, said Juliana Del Beccaro, a friend who has publicized his case through social media.
“It’s not believed that he drowned,” she said.
“There’s so much supervision in the water that it’s not likely that he swam out there and didn’t come back on shore.”
The annual Labor Day event attracts tens of thousands to the Sacramento River. Lifeguards on jet skis and motor boats patrol the waters.
Del Beccaro acknowledged Olson had been drinking.
“He was very coherent and was not over the edge at the time of his last known whereabouts,” she said.
Authorities have not yet identified a group from the University of California Los Angeles that Olson spent time with before his disappearance, according to Del Beccaro.
“We’ve reached out heavily in the UCLA community to try and find those people,” she said, adding that more than 40,000 Facebook users have joined her group, Let’s Bring Brett Home since it was started on Tuesday. She has also created a Twitter hashtag, #findbrettolson.
Olson’s parents have also been handing out posters around Chico about their son’s disappearance.
Del Beccaro described the 20-year-old theater arts major as a popular, outgoing student. Authorities said his cell phone has not been turned on since he was reported missing.
The Glenn County Sheriff’s Department had planned to use a plane with infrared capabilities Wednesday night to search the tall, thick vegetation along the riverbank.
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