Woman drowns while boating in popular North County lagoon

CARLSBAD, Calif - The Thanksgiving weekend turned deadly for a woman out boating with friends in Agua Hedionda Lagoon in Carlsbad.

The 46-year-old woman fell off her paddle board and disappeared underwater Sunday in the middle part of the lagoon west of  the Interstate 5 bridge and under the railroad bridge.  Her friends called 911 and rescuers found her under water, entangled in a buoy line.

The call came in just after 2 p.m. Two kayakers and a woman on a stand-up paddle board got caught in the current that moves water into the ocean. A cable and buoy are strung across the lagoon to prevent boats from going under the railroad bridge, and all three people got caught on the cable. The two kayakers were able to get to shore safely, but the woman on the paddle board fell off and was pulled underwater with the paddle board leash still attached to her leg.

Austin Clark works at California Water Sports, which rents kayaks on the lagoon. The three people did not rent from him. He said he knows the dangers of boating in the middle lagoon first hand.

"If you get pinned up against that, it could be really hard to get out of, especially if you’re not an experienced swimmer. It can be pretty scary,” he said. “Under the railroad bridge, when the tide’s coming out or coming in, it can get pretty strong.”

On Sunday, the water was calm and glassy on the lagoon, and that can be deceiving, Clark said.

“A lot of people like jumping off that bridge. If you’re in the water and you get pulled close to the buoy, once you get over there if the tides going out, it’s pretty strong.”

First responders were able to cut the woman from the buoy line and bring her to shore, where they performed CPR. She was taken to the hospital in critical condition, but did not survive.  Her name has not been released.