Father, daughter found in submerged vehicle in Mendocino County river

Body Discovered Near Site of California Cliff Crash That Killed Family

The bright side of not being there

An inter-agency search and rescue team has recovered two more bodies of an Indian American family who were feared drowned in a California river some 10 days ago, USA officials said today.

Searchers last Thursday had recovered debris and personal items confirmed that an SUV seen plunging into the Northern California river belonged to the Thottapilly family, authorities said.

It was discovered the vehicle with 41-year-old Sandeep Thottapilly, 38-year-old Soumya Thottapilly, 12-year-old Siddhant Thottapilly and 9-year-old Saachi Thottapilly inside had gone off a cliff in Mendocino County.

After an 11-day search operation, the body of the 12-year-old Siddhant was found 6 miles north of the reported crash site.The official said that an autopsy is expected this week.

According to a report from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office, the Sunday search consisted of 21 water searchers which included two Jet Ski teams, two boat teams and several Kayak/Carlson board teams.

Two days earlier on April 13, searchers found a woman's body that has been identified as mother Soumya, 38.

The bodies of Sandeep and Saachi were recovered yesterday inside the vehicle, a Honda Pilot, which was recovered from about 4-6 feet of river water, the police said.

Soon thereafter, search divers entered the water and were able to feel what they believed to be a person inside of the vehicle.

After seven hours of recovery efforts, the vehicle was partially removed from the river by a tow truck.

The Thottapillys' vehicle was completely submerged under heavy water, said Bartley, noting that intense rains had soaked the river, which was moving very swiftly. The family was last heard from in the town of Klamath, Del Norte County, on April 5.

They were reported missing April 8 after failing to show up for family visit in San Jose. While they were crossing the bridge over the river in northern Mendocino County, there was a sudden rainstorm and their vehicle plunged into river Eel.

Now that the vehicle has been recovered, the highway patrol will conduct a complete mechanical inspection as part of the accident investigation. A body was found in the ocean at the scene, but it has not been identified.

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