Officials have identified the 5-year-old boy who was swept away from his mother during the severe California flooding.
The boy, Kyle Doan, was on his way to school in San Miguel with his mother when their vehicle became stuck. Witnesses were able to pull the woman to safety, but Kyle was swept downstream.
Authorities spent several hours searching for Kyle, but had to call off their efforts due to severe weather conditions.
On Tuesday the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office issued a statement committing to finding the boy.
California has been hit by a deluge of extreme weather since New Years’ Eve. The powerful storms caused by an atmospheric river have dumped rainfall totals 400 percent to 600 percent above average.
The result has been extreme flooding, sinkholes, countless evacuation warnings, property damage, and more than a dozen dead.
“It’s great living on the river. It’s not so great living in the river – there’s a big difference,” a California resident told ABC7. “We were expecting a flood, but not like this.”
Kyle’s father told KSBY that his wife began making her way to work – she’s a teacher at Lillian Larsen Elementary School where Kyle attends – because despite the weather there were no signs of road closures.
However shortly before 8 a.m. her vehicle became stuck when she tried to cross an area that had been impacted by a downed tree.
Witnesses were able to rescue the mother, but Kyle slipped away.
After several hours officials had to call off the search.
“The search operations had to be discontinued yesterday after approximately five hours because the extreme weather conditions were making it unsafe for first responders to continue their efforts,” the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office said.
Officials cautioned good samaritans from conducting their own searches and putting themselves in harm’s way.
“The water level is high and continues to be fast-moving. The public is strongly cautioned not to conduct self-initiated searches and put themselves in harm’s way and become a victim requiring resources that would otherwise be used for searching.”
The search for Kyle resumed Tuesday, but ended around nightfall due to “low visibility.”
“While he has yet to be located, the search remains our top priority while weather conditions permit. We will continue to update the public with any information regarding this search.”
My heart goes out to all of those impacted by the extreme weather in California.
Please pray that Kyle is found.