8-Year-Old Boy Drowns in Santa Ynez River

Went Missing near Live Oak Day Use Area

An 8-year-old boy drowned Wednesday, July 4, in a swimming pond on the Santa Ynez River near the Live Oak day use area off Paradise Road.

The child was reported missing at 12:56 p.m., and the first rescue personnel to respond were told he hadn’t been seen for approximately 20 minutes, said County Fire spokesperson Mike Eliason.

Los Padres National Forest dive teams searched the pond — a popular spot for hikers and swimmers near the river’s second crossing — and recovered the child’s body at 1:35 p.m.

Efforts to revive him were unsuccessful, and he was declared dead at the scene, said Eliason, who described water in the pond as “approximately 15-20 feet deep with almost zero visibility.”

The cause of the incident is under investigation. The boy’s identity was not released.

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