ISLA VISTA, Calif. -- About 100 people were arrested and at least 44 people were taken to the hospital during a weekend college party in Southern California that devolved into a street brawl, authorities said.

The violence broke out in the densely populated beachside community of Isla Vista around 9:30 p.m. Saturday during the annual spring break party known as Deltopia, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office said.

The Ventura County Star reported  that things escalated after a University of California, Santa Barbara police officer was hit in the head with a backpack filled with large bottles of alcohol.

Authorities said some members of the crowd of 15,000 then began throwing rocks, bricks and bottles at officers, lighting fires and damaging law enforcement vehicles.

At least five more officers were injured, including one officer who was hit in the face with a brick and two others who were hit in the hand with bottles, sheriff's deputies said. Authorities reported using tear gas and foam projectiles to disperse the crowd.

The situation had stabilized by Sunday morning after sheriffs received backup support from multiple agencies in neighbouring Ventura County.

Isla Vista borders the university and is known for partying. The half-mile area has roughly 23,000 residents, of which 60 per cent are students.