BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The search for two men who disappeared in the Kern River on the Fourth of July is now on its third day and there is still no luck in finding them.
From the air, along the river and on the water, rescue teams are not losing hope that they will find 19-year-old Samuel Raymondo and 27-year-old Diego Cabo. Both are originally from Guatemala and now reside in the San Fernando Valley.
Joining the rescue mission are family and friends of the men, among them Francisco De Paz, who with a stick in hand walks along the shoreline poking at the water hoping to find them.
“It was like four of them that tried to swim across the river,” De Paz said. “Two of them were able to make it out easily, but in a matter of seconds the other two were swept away by the water.”
At the entrance to the Kern River Canyon, a sign reminds visitors of the force of the mighty river.
Since 1968, 317 souls have been taken by the Kern River, that figure was just updated on the sign last month. KCSO now faces the possibility of adding two more to the count.
“We don’t update the official count until the end of the year,” KCSO’s Lori Meza said. “There have been cases where someone goes missing but their bodies aren’t recovered so we can’t say that they died, we can’t say it’s a confirmed death.”
KCSO identified the men Tuesday, upon the request of the family hoping it will help with the rescue effort. Meza said that based on information provided by the group the two were with on July 4, the search continues to be a search and rescue operation.
“It’s a search and rescue,” Meza said. “We’ve heard no reports of them being seen on land when combing the shoreline.”
That can change any day now, in the past 72 hours, KCSO has been using air crews and drones to search in hard-to-reach areas of the Kern River, but nothing has turned up. No search and rescue operations are the same, so there is no saying how long the operation will continue.
De Paz reassures us that this incident could’ve been prevented, if the operation goes into the weekend, family and friends from the Los Angeles area are planning to drive up to help in the effort. For now, desperation continues but hope is the last thing to die.
“It was carelessness,” De Paz said. “Lack of knowing what to expect in the river, you can’t just jump into the river without caring, unfortunately, it ended this way.”