Bodies of Missing Indian Family Members Recovered from California River

Cornelia Mascio
Aprile 17, 2018

On Monday, April 16, the team ended the search operations after they found the body of 12-year-old Siddhant.

Searchers have found the body of a 12-year-old boy, the last missing member of an Indian family of four which perished when their sports utility vehicle plunged into a swollen river in the U.S. state of California some 11 days ago. Two days earlier, the body of Soumya Somanath Thottapilly, 38, was found seven miles north of where the crash occurred.

The bodies of Sandeep Thottapilly and Saachi Thottapilly were recovered from inside the vehicle on Sunday.

"Once the body was recovered it was identified as being Siddhant Thottapilly, the remaining missing member of the Thottapilly family".

The bodies of two members of a California family of four who went missing earlier this month have been found inside a vehicle encased in sediment in the Eel River, said the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office. The family was officially reported as missing to the San Jose Police Department on April 8.

A search team on a boat smelled gasoline about a half-mile (1 kilometer) downstream from where the crash was reported and found the Honda Pilot underwater, authorities said. "The searchers began to probe the water and located a vehicle submerged approximately 4-6 feet beneath the water".

The vehicle was encased in sediment and visibility was poor but divers believed there was at least one body inside, officials said.

"This provided searchers the ability to conduct a visual inspection of the inside of the vehicle", said van Patten, adding: "Searchers subsequently recovered the bodies of Sandeep Thottapilly and Saachi Thottapilly from inside the vehicle".

Recovery efforts continued for several hours and at approximately 6:30pm the vehicle was partially removed from the Eel River by use of a tow truck. According to the statement, the search consisted of 21 water searchers which included 2 Jet Ski teams, 2 Boat teams and several Kayak/Carlson board teams.

After the disappearance, Sandeep's father had tweeted to Indian external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and sought her help. My son Sandeep Thottapilly is residing in California, USA. Responding to his message, Swaraj said: "I am in constant touch with our consulate in San Francisco".

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