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Child swept away by floods: Mom, I'll be OK, just be calm

Posted at 1:31 PM, Jan 12, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-12 15:32:20-05

The desperate search for a missing boy in northern San Luis Obispo County, California continued into Thursday.

Kyle Doan, 5, was swept away by floodwaters while his mom drove him to school on Monday.

"I realized I was drifting and his last words to me were, 'Mom, it's OK, just be calm,'" mom Lyndsy Doan said, describing the harrowing moment she and her son, Kyle, were trapped inside her car as it filled with water.

Kyle Doan with mom, Lyndsy
Kyle Doan with mom, Lyndsy

"I tried to get the windows down. I couldn't," she said.

They were on their way to Kyle's school, Lilian Larsen Elementary School, in San Miguel that rainy Monday morning when her car drifted and crashed into trees.

"I thought the best action would be to leave the car, so I opened my door... Kyle was then strapped to his seatbelt on his booster, " Doan said. "I told him to climb over to the door that was open to my door so he unstrapped his seatbelt. He had his backpack with him. I told him to, 'Leave your backpack there.'"

As they struggled against the raging floodwaters, Kyle reassured his mother.

Doan kept getting dragged down under the current.

"I was able to grab onto him, but the current pushed Kyle out and our hands slipped," she said.

Kyle drifted away.

"I saw his head kind of floating and he was looking at me 'cause he was going backward for a little bit of time," she said.

Bystanders rushed to the rescue, throwing a rope and pulling her out of the muddy waters.

"When I had asked them what about Kyle? They said they had seen Kyle but he was floating on his back. There was no way they could throw a rope to him because of where he was," she said.

Family, friends and first responders have been searching for Kyle every day.

Kyle Doan 2.jpg
Family friend Katarena Messer shared a photo of Kyle wearing the same jacket she says he had on when he went missing.

"I'd do anything to just have him go, 'Mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy to me for hours a day," Doan said.

The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office is getting help from other law enforcement agencies, including dive team members, search and rescue teams, and K9 units from Ventura County and Santa Barbara County. The Sacramento County Sheriff's Office also supplied search teams with sonar equipment help.

This article was written by Nina Lozano for KSBY.