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Kern County Sheriff’s Office warns community about river safety after search for missing child continues

"It does happen every single summer."
Kern River, April 4, 2022 (FILE)
Posted at 4:24 PM, Apr 04, 2022

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — It’s now day three in the search for a missing child who KSCO said was swept away in the Kern River near Keysville Road.

An adult family friend jumped into the river for rescue but was unable to save the child.

While the river may seem to be still and calm at the surface, that isn’t always the case for underneath.

“The juvenile slipped on a rock and fell into the river and the family friend jumped in after him,” said Lori Meza, Kern County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer.

In a matter of seconds, a day of fun turned into a search no parent wants to be a part of.

“Last summer it was really common. It does happen every single summer. It’s not something that you ever really get used to. It’s devastating,” said Meza.

Meza said that on Saturday, several children went into the water of the Kern River about knee to calf-deep while an adult family friend supervised. She said the child who was swept away had been missing for about twenty minutes before KSCO was notified.

She adds that with warmer weather approaching, having multiple adults around while near Kern River is important for rescue efforts.

“So having multiple adults around, multiple capable adults who can swim, who can call, who can do these things that definitely helps.”

Meza encourages everyone who visits the Kern River, whether you can swim or not, to have floating devices on hand just in case and that the best thing you can do is simply just stay out of the water.

“Prevention, water safety, these are all things that we talk about every year. We always tell people to make sure that you’re using personal floatation devices and truthfully the best way is to just stay out of the Kern River. Stay out stay alive isn’t on that sign for no reason at all.”

At this time KSCO said that the child has not been located and the search is still ongoing.

They will be doing a search Monday evening and we will be sure to provide an update as more information becomes available.