The rain-swollen Calaveras River swept away five young boys, drowning at least one, and rescuers resumed searching Thursday for three missing brothers, police said.

Divers pulled the body of one of the boys from the river late Wednesday, police Lt. Wayne Hose said.A Coast Guard helicopter was in the air at dawn and search boats and divers were back at the scene Thursday morning.

"We're hoping the children were able to make land on their own," Coast Guard Petty Officer Elizabeth Neely said today.

All of the children were of Cambodian descent. The three missing boys - ages 9, 8 and 7 - are brothers, police Lt. Frank Johnston said.

The boy who drowned and a fifth boy who came ashore on his own were brothers from another family, he said.

The drowned child was 9-year-old Vanna Soun, Hose said. The others' names were not released.

The incident occurred shortly before 6 p.m. in a residential area near the center of the city.

There were various reports about how it happened. The children either fell or went into the river, Deputy Police Chief Ed Chavez said.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Elizabeth Neely said that two may have fallen into the water while playing on an overpass and that the other three may have jumped in to save them.

Onlookers said the five were trying to wade into the river while holding hands. The oldest, age 10, decided to swim back to shore.