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Search continues on swollen US river for SUV matching missing Indian family's vehicle

Press Trust of India  |  Los Angeles 

Authorities in have set up a joint incident command centre to trace the occupants of a vehicle that was swept away in flood waters, a week after four members of an Indian family went missing in the area.

The search was still on just north of Leggett for an SUV that was swept away with its occupants in flood waters on Friday, which matches the description of the SUV driven by the Thottappilly family missing since Thursday, The Santa Clarita Valley Signal newspaper reported.

Two adults and two children of the Thottappilly family were on their way from Portland, Oregon, in a maroon Pilot to San Jose, where they suddenly stopped communicating with family in

Sandeep Thottappilly, 42, father; Soumya, 38, mother; Siddhant, 12, their son; and 9-year-old Saachi, their daughter were in the SUV when it went missing.

Sandeep worked as a with the and lived in with his family.

Sandeep grew up in city in and settled down in the US over 15 years ago, a relative said.

Searchers under the direction of the Garberville (CHP) remained at Eel River, just north of Leggett, were still searching, a for the Gaberville CHP told The Signal newspaper.

On Tuesday, officers with the Garberville CHP set up joint incident command center with Mendocino County Sheriff's Office, Cal-Fire, Leggett Volunteer Fire, Piercy Volunteer Fire and Southern Humboldt Technical Rescue "to organise for the missing vehicle and occupants," wrote in a CHP post.

"All available resources are being utilised by searching personnel," he said.

"Through the collaborated efforts of all the involved agencies we are working to resolve this incident as quickly and safely as possible," Wunderlich wrote.

"Rescue personnel will be searching the immediate and surrounding areas and constantly evaluating the condition of the river and the weather during the search efforts," he wrote on the latest CHP post.

The CHP received a report on April 6 of a traffic collision of a vehicle into the Eel River, he said.

The incident happened on 101 at the

"The vehicle was completely submerged in the river due to the heavy rain," he said. "We are working on finding the vehicle but we are not able to locate it.

"Based on our preliminary investigation and witness statements, we believe the vehicle was a 2016 or 2017 Pilot maroon in colour," he said.

"This vehicle and the missing person's vehicle are similar but, at this time, we are unable to confirm its the same vehicle," Wunderlich said.

"We are searching a broad area but because of the moving river it's a difficult search," he said.

police officers, meanwhile, are trying to locate the missing family, officials said.

A relative of the Thottapilly family who lives in the area contacted police officers over the weekend regarding the family of four, whom were expected to be at the relative's house on Friday.

When the Thottapilly family did not show up, the relative became concerned and contacted Police Department.

"The last time they spoke with the family was on Thursday," said told the paper.

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

First Published: Thu, April 12 2018. 18:30 IST