A man snorkeling in the Colorado River near the Arizona and California border was frightened – and later embarrassed – when he came across two fake skeletons sitting in lawn chairs about 40 feet underwater.
The man called the La Paz County Sheriff’s Office Monday to report the skeletons. The notification launched a hunt for what authorities believed could be real bodies.
It turned out the skeletons were fake and had been placed in the water to appear as if they were sitting together, their lawn chairs bound to large rocks. A diver from the Buckskin Fire Department captured the scene on a video camera attached to his head. The sheriff’s office called the scene a tea party.
The skeletons were seen wearing sunglasses and one had a sign with the words “Bernie” and “dream in the river.” The sign also has a date of Aug. 16, 2014, a date possibly determining when the skeletons were placed there.
"I don't think they were trying to set up anything to scare anyone. I think they were gonna try to be funny," Lt. Curtis Bagby said.
The sign could be a reference to the movie “Weekend at Bernie’s,” in which the two main characters carry around their dead boss for days, losing and recovering his body several times, Bagby said. At one point in the film, Bernie’s corpse falls off a boat and into water.
Bagby said there will be no investigation into who left the skeletons there.
"Things happen. We go all the time to false alarms. That's just a first-responder's life. We're trying not to be overly concerned about it, not make too big a deal out of it," Bagby said.
Instead, the sheriff's office wants to have a little fun with the situation. Bagby said divers will recover the skeletons sometime this week and that he is considering placing them outside the sheriff's office as a joke.
"We like to show some things that are fun, some levity too. But in the meantime, don't think it's OK to go put something there," he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report