A Southern California man arrested for throwing his 7-year-old son overboard during a sightseeing cruise says he and his child were horse playing.

Sloan Briles, 35, told KTLA-TV in an interview Tuesday that he and his son were just having fun and he denied witnesses' accounts that the boy was crying because Briles was hitting him.

Witnesses said they saw Briles hit his son and then toss the child in the water, he denied that, saying he had never hit his son.

According to Orange County Sheriff's Department spokesman Jim Amormino, the child was saved after people on three nearby boats rushed to save him.

Briles did attempt to save his son by jumping into the water, but the boy had already been rescued by then.

Briles was having an argument with his girlfriend when he threw his son overboard.

Amormino told KTLA that the boy was shaken up but otherwise unharmed. Briles was arrested for child endangerment and resisting arrests after he struck his son and threw him overboard.

The girlfriend told the New York Daily News Briles was simply roughhousing with the boy and regrets his stupid judgment.

There wasn't any fighting, Jennifer Burrelli told the Daily News in an exclusive interview. He's just a goofball who's always roughhousing with his sons at the pool. He wasn't thinking.

Authorities said Briles appeared to have been drunk.

Briles' two sons, ages 7 and 6, are from a previous marriage. They were both with him on the trip. Both boys saw the argument and the 7-year-old was visibly upset, Amormino said.

Burrelli said Briles, who is from Irvine, Calif., was a little intoxicated, and he just had really stupid judgment. She added that the cruise was ending and pulling in to the pier at the time.

I think he thought he could make his own rules. I think it was just teasing, she told the New York paper. His sons are his whole life... He would never ever do anything to hurt them on purpose. He knows now it could have gone badly. He doesn't even care about the arrest or his own name. He knows it was stupid.