A man was found dead Saturday afternoon in a shed-like space built under the Culver Boulevard Bridge over Ballona Creek.
The wooden structure was in a “hidden space” under the Playa del Rey Bridge, about 20 feet above the waterline of the Ballona Creek flood control channel, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.
Slow-moving waters below are 10 to 15 feet deep, authorities said.
LAFD rescue crews accessed the structure on Saturday afternoon and found the body of a man in his 40s, who was determined to have died at the scene.
The structure appears to have served, at least at one point, as an impromptu living space, although it is unclear if the man was the one who lived there, LAFD spokesman Brian Humphrey said. .
LAFD Urban Search and Rescue team members wearing ropes, harnesses and personal flotation devices were able to access the space after snagging on the bridge infrastructure, Humphrey said.
The LAFD fast water rescue team was also present in the water below the structure as a safety measure during the operation.
The body had not yet been removed from the structure as of Saturday afternoon, and LAFD will likely use a wire basket stretcher to do so. Firefighters will assist Los Angeles Police Department detectives and coroner’s office investigators to enter the structure.
“With the joint approval of the LAPD detectives currently leading the investigation and the medical examiner’s investigator, LAFD personnel will assist in the safe and dignified removal of the body from the still difficult hangar-like structure. access, at a time yet to be determined,” firefighters said in an incident report.
The coroner’s office has yet to identify the man and determine the cause and time of death, Humphrey said.
According to Humphrey, authorities were first alerted Friday night by a call from “an apparently homeless person who believed there was a body under a bridge” near a creek.
The caller, who appeared to have cognitive issues, could not tell where the bridge was or what body of water it spanned, Humphrey said.
Authorities searched for a body on the ground under several bridges around Ballona Creek on Friday evening, but found nothing and were unable to obtain further information from the caller, Humphrey said.
Firefighters were called to the scene Saturday by police, Humphrey said. Los Angeles Police Department spokesman Tony Im said police received a call around 10:52 a.m. Saturday morning alerting them to the presence of the body. I had no other information about the call.
Culver Boulevard will remain closed to all traffic between Jefferson Boulevard and Lincoln Boulevard until police and the medical examiner complete their operations under the bridge.
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