Authorities identify 5-year-old swept away by floodwaters during California storm as search resumes

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Tuesday, January 10, 2023
Boy, 5, swept away by floodwaters during California storm
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Authorities and family are holding out hope that 5-year-old Kyle Doan can be found after he was swept away by floodwaters as a powerful storm walloped California.

The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday resumed its search for a 5-year-old boy who was swept away by floodwaters as a powerful storm walloped California.

Authorities and family are holding out hope that Kyle Doan, a kindergartener at Lillian Larsen Elementary School in San Miguel, can be found after he went missing Monday.

"A break in the intense storms is allowing today's search which will involve all available resources of the Sheriff's Office including the USAR (Underwater Search and Rescue) Team and air operations," a statement from the sheriff's office said. "The conditions, however, remain extremely dangerous. The water level is high and continues to be fast moving."

The search for the boy, who has not been declared dead, was called off around 3 p.m. Monday because the current and rising water levels of the Salinas River were too dangerous for divers, said spokesperson Tony Cipolla of the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office.

The boy's mother was driving a white truck when it became stranded in floodwaters just before 8 a.m. near Paso Robles, according to Tom Swanson, assistant chief of the Cal Fire/San Luis Obispo County Fire Department.

Bystanders were able to pull the mother out of the truck, but the boy was carried out of the vehicle and swept downstream, Swanson said. There was no evacuation order in the area at the time. A firefighter discovered one of the boy's shoes, but crews still had not found the child more than five hours later.

Monday's search lasted for five hours before it was called off.

San Miguel Joint Union School District Superintendent Karen Grandoli said the boy's mother is a teacher at the same school he attends.

"San Miguel is a small, very close-knit community and everyone has the family in their thoughts and prayers during this unfathomable tragedy," Grandoli's statement said. "The family is continuing to search for him in hopes that he might be found. Staff is beginning to organize support for the family. We are determining what their immediate needs are at this time."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.