Washington: Searchers have found the body of the last missing member of an Indian family which perished when their sport utility vehicle plunged into a swollen river in the US state of California some 11 days ago.
The Thottapilly family, from Santa Clarita, disappeared in early April while driving in a Honda Pilot through the Redwood Coast Highway on vacation, officials said. Their disappearance coincided with reports that a vehicle had sunk into the Eel River in Northern California. Searchers yesterday found the body of Siddhant Thottapilly, 12, the last to be found after the family of four went missing.
Sandeep Thottapilly, 41, and Saachi Thottapilly, 9, were found dead inside a vehicle encased in sediment in the Eel River, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office said. Separately, an adult female body recovered on Friday from another area of the river was identified as Soumya Thottapilly, 38. “At approximately 4:00 PM water searchers located the body of a juvenile male submerged in the Eel River approximately 6 miles north of the reported crash site,” it said.
“Once the body was recovered it was identified as being Siddhant Thottapilly, the remaining missing member of the Thottapilly family. An autopsy is expected to be performed this week as part of the Coroner’s investigation into the incident,” it added. The family’s maroon SUV was seen falling into the river in northern Mendocino County from a pullout during an April 6 rainstorm. They had been traveling south from Oregon along Highway 101 when the incident occurred, officials said.
Officials last week determined the vehicle belonged to the Thottapilly family. On Sunday, 70 searchers using Jet Skis, boats and kayaks worked along the river in an ongoing effort to find the vehicle and family. The vehicle was encased in sediment and visibility was poor but divers believed there was at least one body inside, officials said. About 6:30 pm a tow truck was able to partially pull the vehicle out and two bodies were found inside it. Soumya’s body was found several miles from where the vehicle went into the water. The river was swollen from recent storms and officials had to wait several days for it to recede.