PASO ROBLES, Calif. (KRON) — More than 100 members of the National Guard joined the search on Wednesday for a 5-year-old Central California boy who was swept away in rushing floodwaters.
The boy, Kyle Doan, has been missing since he disappeared Monday morning in “raging floodwaters” near Paso Robles, according to the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office.
Kyle’s mother was clinging onto her son as floodwater overwhelmed their SUV. “She tried to hold on to him and it was hard to stabilize things with the current. They got separated,” Kyle’s father told CNN.
The mother and son had been attempting to drive to school in San Miguel along a rural road. Kyle was eager to return to kindergarten on Monday after winter break, his father told CNN.
Nearly 200 emergency responders from across California have joined the search for Kyle, including sheriff’s underwater search and rescue teams from Ventura, Santa Barbara, and Sacramento counties.
“The first wave of over 100 National Guard personnel have arrived on scene to assist with the search. More troops will arrive Thursday,” the sheriff’s office wrote.
Kyle was described as 4-feet-tall, 52 pounds, has short dirty blond hair, and hazel eyes. He was wearing a black puffer jacket with a red liner, blue jeans, and blue-gray Nike shoes.
Kyle’s father told CNN that he is losing hope that his son is still alive. “You know what the odds are. The hard thing to say to a lot of people at this point in time is, it’s not a rescue. It’s a recovery. That’s something no parent wants to admit. And I kind of knew it after the first night. It’s a hard, hard concept, especially when it’s your kid.”
Stormy and flooded conditions in the area caused the official search effort to pause periodically.
“The conditions remain extremely dangerous. 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 sheriff’s office wrote.
Forecasters with the National Weather Service said large portions of Central California received over half its annual precipitation within the past 16 days.
A series of winter storms have combined into “one of the deadliest disasters in the history of our state,” according to the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.
In Sonoma County, a woman was found dead after her vehicle was submerged under floodwaters in Forestville. The victim, Daphne Fontino, 43, of Ukiah, had called 911 during Tuesday’s powerful storm and told a dispatcher that water was rushing into her car.
A search crew was unable to find Fontino and her car before sunset and extreme weather conditions caused the search effort to be called off overnight. On Wednesday morning, a Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office dive team found the car submerged in 10 feet of water about 100 yards from Trenton-Healdsburg Road. A diver confirmed that Fontino’s body was still inside the car.