Indian family missing in US, authorities search river
An Indian family of four was reported missing in the US state of California while on a road trip and authorities are fearing for the worst after an SUV matching their vehicle was believed to be swept away by a flood-swollen river, according to a media report.
The Thottapilly family, from Kerala, went missing on April 5 while travelling from Portland to San Jose.
The search continues for a maroon Honda Pilot that went down an embankment on Friday around 1:10 pm on Highway 101 near Dora Creek, about five miles north of Leggett, according to the Cailfornia Highway Patrol (CHP).
The vehicle is the same kind that the Thottapilly family 42-year-old Sandeep, 38-year-old Soumya, 12-year-old Siddhant and 9-year-old Saachi were driving on a road trip from Portland, Oregon, back to their home in the southern California city of Valencia, with a planned stop to see relatives in San Jose, The Mercury News reported.
A notice posted on Facebook stated that relatives last heard from the family on Thursday, and reported them missing over the weekend after they did not show up for their planned Friday visit.
The San Jose Police Department confirmed that a missing persons report was filed on Sunday involving the Thottapilly family.
Their last known location was the Klamath-Redwood National and State Parks area, roughly 80 kms north of Eureka.
After an SUV matching that description went off the roadway on Friday near Dora Creek, first-responders and rescue crews arrived to find the vehicle “was completely submerged in the Eel River” amid heavy rains, the CHP said.
“Due to the strong river current, and the poor clarity, the vehicle was unable to be located” on Friday, adding that authorities “have continuously searched and monitored the river in attempts to located the vehicle”, with assistance from a CHP helicopter.
CHP Officer William Wunderlich told the Santa Clarita Valley Signal affirmed that the vehicle they were searching for is similar to the one the Thottapilly family was last known to be driving.
“Based on our preliminary investigation and witness statements, we believe the vehicle was a 2016 or 2017 Honda Pilot maroon in color,” Wunderlich told the news outlet.
“This vehicle and the missing person’s vehicle are similar but, at this time, we are unable to confirm its the same vehicle. The Signal reported that the family is from Valencia. Sandeep works as a vice president for Union Bank, according to his Facebook and LinkedIn pages.