Santa Barbara authorities are still investigating why an 18-year-old Cal Poly San Luis Obispo freshman was found dead in the ocean close to a popular surf spot near UC Santa Barbara. They do suspect that the young woman may have died as the result of a fall from a cliff near the ocean during the chaotic aftermath of a “Deltopia” party that had been broken up by Santa Barbara police.
“Deltopia,” was known as “Floatopia” until 2009. But then Santa Barbara officials banned the use of Isla Vista’s beaches for the unpermitted party where thousands would gather to kick off the start of the spring semester at UC Santa Barbara. The event’s name was changed to “Deltopia” after students moved the party from the beach to Del Playa Drive in Isla Vista, which is located on the bluffs above the ocean.
It’s estimated that 15,000 to 18,000 students gather in the community during the spring break party.
Police suspect that the Santa Rosa native may have fallen off a cliff during the confusion that ensued as people scattered in the dark to leave the party. Two of the victim’s friends said that they could not find her after the party when thousands of students had gathered. Authorities are saying that the co-ed’s injuries seem consistent with those that are sustained during a fall.
According to the Press Democrat, Santa Barbara County officials are contemplating what to do about the increasingly out-of-control nature of the huge un-permitted annual weekend gathering. Citing this death and several other injuries and incidents related to “Deltopia,” one Santa Barbara County supervisor said that gatherings this large where students are intoxicated “get out of control quickly.”
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