LEGGETT, Calif. (CBSLA/AP) — Authorities searching for a family whose SUV plunged into a rain-swollen Northern California river have found the vehicle and the body of a man and a girl inside it.
The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office said Monday that searchers located the car Sunday and recovered the bodies of 41-year-old Sandeep Thottapilly and 9-year-old Saachi Thottapilly. The body of 12-year-old Sidhhant Thottapilly was later found submerged in the Eel River about 6 miles downstream from where the family car reportedly crashed, Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Gregory L. Van Patten said in a statement.
The office also said the body of an adult female found in the Eel River on Friday has been identified as 38-year-old Soumya Thottapilly.
The four members of the Thottapilly family went missing while traveling from Portland, Oregon, to their home in Santa Clarita.
They were reported missing April 8 after failing to show up for a visit with relatives in San Jose.
“The vehicle was completely submerged in the river due to the heavy rain,” CHP Officer William Wunderlich told CBS San Francisco Tuesday.
Runoff from the heavy downpours at the crash scene made going into the river last Friday extremely dangerous.
“The water levels rose very rapidly Friday afternoon,” Wunderlich said. “The water current was very strong that day along with the clarity of the river — it was hard to see through because of all the added mud and debris.”
Saachi attends Meadows Elementary School in Santa Clarita, the Santa Clarita Valley Signal newspaper reports. Siddhant graduated from Meadows last year.
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