Johnny Carson's son apparently had gone to a scenic area overlooking the Pacific Ocean to take pictures when his vehicle plunged down a 124-foot embankment, throwing him to his death, authorities say.

Richard Wolcott Carson, 39, died instantly, Highway Patrol Officer Russ Johnson said Monday."It appears his attention was just diverted," Johnson said. "He wasn't traveling at a high rate of speed or carelessly."

Camera equipment was found along the road, Johnson said.

The accident occurred Friday on a narrow rural road near the beach community of Cayucos, 180 miles northwest of Los Angeles, Johnson said. The "Tonight Show" host's son was in a four-wheel-drive vehicle.

A private funeral was held Sunday in Los Angeles, NBC said.

Johnny Carson gave no statement Monday.

Richard Carson was one of three grown sons from the entertainer's first marriage to Joan Buckley. The other children are Christopher, 40, and Cory, 38.