A missing 5-year-old boy was pulled from his mother’s arms during a flood in California


As floods in central California washed away their SUV Monday morning, 5-year-old Kyle Doan, now missing, encouraged his mother.

“Don’t worry, mom,” the boy said, his father, Brian Doan, recalled Wednesday.

“He didn’t fully understand what was going on,” Doan told CNN. “But he was so calm talking to my wife while they were still in the car.”

A powerful storm, one of the latest to hit the West Coast, turned streets into rivers and forced the closure of major roads in California. almost 20 lives were lost during a series of storms in recent weeks that a spokesman for the California governor’s emergency department on Wednesday called “one of the deadliest disasters in our state’s history.”

Authorities have been searching for Kyle since Monday. More than 100 members of the National Guard arrived at the scene to help search for the missing child Wednesday, and more troopers were arriving Thursday to help, the county sheriff said.

Kyle’s mother, a special education teacher at the same school in the village of San Miguel in San Luis Obispo County where he attends kindergarten, was able to get the boy out of his car seat when floodwaters engulfed their SUV on the way to their school.

“”Itself. Not your backpack. Leave him,” she told him as they prepared to flee, according to Doan.

Kyle’s mother held him like water poured over the low point of the country road and began to propel the vehicle.

Pieces of debris mixed in with the assembly floods as Kyle’s mother clutched the boy, along with a small bag of ID and her phone.

“She tried to hold it and it was hard to steady things with the flow,” Doan said. “And they parted.”

No one can question her actions, he insisted.

“She made the best decisions she could,” Doan said, his voice breaking. “I have to keep stressing that. She couldn’t stay in the car with him. The currents would overwhelm the car later… They got out. It was the right thing to do.”

The mother has described the harrowing moment her child slipped after they got out of the car.

“Basically at that point I was hugging the tree and trying to grab Kyle’s hands, but the current pushed Kyle out and our hands slipped,” Lindsay Doan told a CNN affiliate KSBY.

The SUV was later found upside down and covered in mud and debris, Doan said. The mother was pulled safely from the water.

The search for Kyle continued Wednesday with the help of other law enforcement agencies after it was called off the previous afternoon due to low visibility. The initial search was suspended Monday afternoon due to inclement weather, according to the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office.

A missing 5-year-old boy was pulled from his mother’s arms during a flood in California

Teams searching the area with K-9 dogs focused primarily downstream from where the mother was rescued and where Kyle was last seen, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Commander Michael Manuele told KSBY.

Video from the scene showed rescuers examining an SUV that was partially submerged in mud and debris Wednesday.

Brian Doan complained that he was hopeless.

“The hard thing to say to a lot of people at this point is that this is not salvation. It’s recovery,” he said, his voice cracking again. “And that’s something no parent wants to admit. And I kind of got it after the first night… And it’s a hard, hard concept, especially when it’s your child.”

Doan said no one has officially called the search a recovery operation.

“I’ve seen enough, you know. It’s hard,” he said. “You know what the odds are. And as much as people try to be optimistic – and I support my wife – it’s hard. The first night was hellish – I was just thinking, ‘Oh my God, why haven’t they found him already?’

Kyle likes to dance and play soccer, his father Brian Doan told CNN.

The past year has been difficult for Kyle, his father said. The boy tripped and fell at preschool and suffered an injury that required surgery and rods in his broken leg.

“He was good at it,” Doan recalled. “He was very adaptable. He started walking a few months after that. It was as if no one knew he had sticks in his leg.

In November, the sticks were removed. He had a six-week recovery period and the restrictions on his movement were coming to an end. Kyle couldn’t wait to start school on the Monday after vacation.

“He’s a great kid and he loved to dance,” Doan said. “He was very talkative, very outgoing. He loved being silly and trying to get attention in all those ways that a five-year-old likes to do. He likes to play football and he likes his Paw Patrol.”

He added: “He was just looking forward to going back to school.”

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