Photo: Shannon Barney / Associated Press
The bodies of a man and his 9-year-old daughter were found on Sunday in a vehicle submerged in the Eel River in Mendocino County, authorities said, leaving only one child missing after a family of four from Southern California disappeared earlier this month.
Sandeep Thottapilly, 41, and Saachi Thottapilly, 9, Santa Clarita, were found inside their vehicle after about 70 people conducted search and rescue efforts in Leggett, California, according to Mendocino County. Office.
Searchers detected a smell of gasoline from the water about a half mile north of where it was reported that the family had crashed, police said. It was reported that the effort, which included 21 search and rescue workers, two jet ski teams, two boat teams and several kayaks, found a vehicle about 6 feet under the water covered with sediment from the river current.
to look for the car underwater, they could feel what they thought was a person inside the vehicle, police said.
A body found seven miles upstream on Friday was also identified Sunday as the 38-year-old. mother, Soumya Thottapilly. His body was located on exposed ground that had been covered by the river due to a recent storm that brought heavy rain, police said.
The body of 12-year-old Siddhant Thottapilly has not yet been found.
A vehicle was reported submerged in the Eel River on April 6. During an early search, the California Highway Patrol found a car part that looked like it belonged to a garnet Honda Pilot.
Several days later, authorities received reports that the Thottapilly four family was missing. It is believed that they were on vacation traveling on the Redwood Coast Highway and that they had not arrived in San Jose when they were expected to do so, police said.
The last time the family was heard was on April 5 in Klamath (North County). They reportedly traveled from Portland, Oregon, to their home in Santa Clarita.
Before discovering three members of the family and the vehicle, the search engines found numerous items that seemed to come from the body and interior of the vehicle, as well as some personal items that were consistent with a family traveling on vacation, said the police.
The relatives confirmed to the authorities that the personal items belonged to the Thottapilly family.
The CHP will conduct an accident investigation once the vehicle has fully recovered the water.
Sarah Ravani is a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @SarRavani