Teenager Swept Away in Merced River

MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) — Authorities are searching for a 17-year old boy who they believe may have drowned in the Merced River over the weekend.

The Merced County Sheriff’s Office says the teen was with a friend Saturday night at the McConnell State Recreation Area near Livingston.

Around 6:30 pm, investigators say the teen asked to use someone’s kayak so he could take photos.

Officials say that’s how the teen ended up in the water.

“This is a very tragic, tragic situation for the family but preventing something from happening is just as easy as staying out of the rivers,” said Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke.

So far, the sheriff’s dive team has not been able to find the boy’s body.

That’s where professional scuba diver Juan Heredia comes in.

He’s volunteering his skills and spent Monday afternoon searching the river for the teen.

Heredia recently located Brenda Duran’s body after she was swept away by the powerful San Joaquin River.

“I started 28 years ago and I’m giving back to the community what I learned, studied, practiced. I’m a professional diver,” said Heredia.