An Indian family went missing in the US last week while travelling from Oregon to California. According to The Washington Post, after a week-long search for them, bodies of two of the family members were found inside their SUV, which was submerged in Eel River, on Sunday.

The bodies were later identified as those of Sandeep Thottapilly and his 9-year-old daughter Saachi. Two days before the recovery of their body, the investigators had also found the body of Sandeep’s wife Saumya, reported The Washington Post. There is, however, no clue about the whereabouts of their son, Siddhant.

The report further said that a poster shared on social networking website Facebook suggested that the vehicle in which the family travelled was a 2016-make Honda Pilot, maroon or burgundy in colour.

“At approximately 11:30 AM a boating team noticed a gasoline smell emitting from the water approximately 1/2 mile north of the reported crash site (downstream). The searchers began to probe the water and located a vehicle submerged approximately 4-6 feet beneath the water,” California’s Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

Soon thereafter, search divers entered the water and were able to feel what they believed to be a person inside of the vehicle. Visibility was extremely poor and divers noted the vehicle was encased in a large amount of sediment from the river current, a media release said.

Recovery efforts continued for several hours and at approximately 6:30 PM the vehicle was partially removed from the Eel River by use of a tow truck. This provided searchers the ability to conduct a visual inspection of the inside of the vehicle.

“Searchers subsequently recovered the bodies of Sandeep Thottapilly and Saachi Thottapilly from inside the vehicle,” the Sheriff Office said adding that the autopsies are expected to be performed this week as part of the coroner’s investigation into the incident.

According to the San Jose Police Department, the Thottapilly family was supposed to have arrived to visit a friend in the San Jose 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. Sandeep grew up in Surat in Gujarat and settled down in the US over 15 years ago.

(With PTI Inputs)



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