The United States National Guard has joined the search for 5-year-old Kyle Doan, who was swept away by raging floodwaters during this week’s heavy downpour in San Luis Obispo County.

Doan was carried off by rushing water after he and his mother became stuck on an impassable road in San Miguel, a small town about ten miles north of Paso Robles on California’s Central Coast.

Lindsy Doan, Kyle’s mother, told the Associated Press that their vehicle got carried away by water and got pinned to a large sycamore tree. As they tried to escape from their flooding vehicle, Kyle’s fingers slipped away from her grip and he was carried away down into a swollen creek.

Bystanders estimated the creek had filled up to a height of around 12 feet when the kindergartner was swept away.

Kyle Doan, 5, shown in this undated photo provided by the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office, was swept away by floodwaters near San Miguel on Jan. 9, 2023
Kyle Doan, 5, shown in this undated photo provided by the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office, was swept away by floodwaters near San Miguel on Jan. 9, 2023.

The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office conducted search operations for more than six hours Monday, but the search was called off after conditions continued to deteriorate and it was determined the extreme weather conditions were unsafe for search and rescue teams.

Searches have resumed every day since Doan was last seen.

His mother told reporters she has been holding out hope that he is still alive, but says she has frantically been searching for information related to how long a 5-year-old could go without food or how long a kid his age could survive in wet clothes.

At this time, Doan is considered to be missing; he has not yet been declared deceased by authorities.

On Wednesday, more than 100 guardsmen joined in the search, accompanied by local agencies, helicopters and search dogs. In total, more than 200 people are involved in the search.

Despite warm weather that has been favorable for much of the mud and water to dry off, search conditions are still considered to be quite dangerous. Creeks and rivers are still flooded from the deluge of this week’s earlier storms and a second and third round of rainy weather could reach the Central Coast this weekend.

Still, authorities are continuing to hope for the best. Tony Cipolla, a spokesman for the SLO Sheriff’s Office, described the search as “comprehensive,” saying every effort is being made “to search every brush pile and area of debris.”

Lindsy Doan, meanwhile, is trying to remain positive, but can’t help second guessing herself.

“In the back of your mind, it’s like, ‘Well, what if, what if, what if I just turned around and went back the other way?’” she said. “What if, what if I had just decided, ‘Hey, you know, let’s not go down this road this day?’ I don’t know that that’s ever going to disappear.”

Authorities say the events that led to Kyle Doan being swept away is a somber reminder of the old adage, “Turn around, don’t drown.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.