TULARE, Calif. — A Paramount man who went missing on the Kern River earlier this week has not been found and is presumed dead, according to Tulare County Sheriff's Office.
Officials say 38-year-old Gerald Gonzales was last seen by friends in the Upper Kern River on a pool-toy inner tube at Calkins Flat around 6 p.m. on Wednesday. Witnesses say that Gonzales was not wearing a helmet or a life vest.
Lt. Kemmerling confirmed that at the time Gonzales went missing, the Kern River was flowing at approximately 6,000 cubic feet per second. The lieutenant also says the Kern River is running so hard that not even the commercial river guides are on it in the area.
For the past two days, aerial searches were performed by helicopter and Gonzales' inner tube was located approximately a mile down river. However, officials has not spotted him and he is presumed to be deceased.
The Sheriff's office says it has been in contact with the Gonzales' family each day and they are aware that the search is now a recovery effort.
Officials say rescue crews will continue searching for Gonzales from the air.
"We will not stop until Mr. Gonzales is recovered and returned to his family," Lt. Kemmerling said.