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Police recovers vehicle parts, personal belongings of Indian family from river; occupants still missing

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

An and team in today recovered parts of a vehicle from a river in which a missing Indian family was travelling last week.

Personal belongings of the four members of the Thottapilly family from Santa Clarita in California, who were believed to be travelling through Humboldt and on US-101 while on a vacation, were also found by the team over a two-day period on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Sandeep Thottapilly, 41, of the on Santa Clarita, and his wife Soumya Thottapilly, 38, were on a road trip along with their two kids -- Siddhanth, 12 and Saachi, nine -- in the maroon Pilot (No Plate 7MMX138) from Portland, to in Southern California, during which they went missing on April 5.

Later, Mendocino declared them as missing persons.

Between the two search days, the Swift Water Teams were able to cover approximately 12 miles of the Eel river, just north of the town of in The vehicle is reported to have submerged in the river around 1:10 pm on April 6.

"The teams were unsuccessful in locating the vehicle or any occupants from the vehicle. They were able to locate numerous items that appeared to have come from a vehicle body and interior," the Garberville office of the California Highway said.

It said several items were identified by the family members of those missing.

"Some of these items were consistent with a vehicle. Also located were various personal items that were consistent with a family travelling on vacation. Several items have been positively identified, by the family members, as belonging to the Thottapilly family," it said.

"These items were of a personal nature and will not be described further at this time, but it does confirm the fact the vehicle that was seen going into the river was that of the Thottapilly family," the California Highway said.

A joint press conference of the Mendocino and California Highway has been scheduled to discuss further about the investigation.

The Sheriffs Office has been in contact with numerous other county dive teams and technical responders that can be called upon, when the vehicle is located, to assist with recovery of the vehicle. Once recovered the California will conduct a complete mechanical inspection of the vehicle as part of the accident investigation.

The Swift Water Rescue Teams conducted a as well as some limited "probing", a technique using a long pole being probed underwater to see if the vehicle or anything metallic could be located.

According to the highway patrol, the teams accessed the river in inflatable boats and on 'River Boards', a small designed to allow full access under overhanging trees or tight areas not accessible by boat.

The also assisted with the use of their jet boat with side scan sonar system.

According to the Police Department, the Thottapilly family was supposed to have arrived to visit a friend in the area on April 6 but did not make it as scheduled. The family was last heard from in the town of Klamath, Del Norte County, on April 5.

The California developed information that the family were travelling in a family vehicle, a 2016 maroon Pilot. The family was officially reported as missing to the on April 8.

Sandeep grew up in city in and settled down in the US over 15 years ago.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, April 13 2018. 03:30 IST
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