Missing family of four feared to have been swept away after similar car plunges into California river
iStock/Thinkstock(SAN JOSE, Calif.) — A family of four who disappeared on a West Coast road trip may have been swept away into a river in Northern California.
Sandeep and Soumya Thottapilly and their children, 12-year-old Siddhant and 9-year-old Saachi, were driving from Portland, Oregon, home to Southern California last week, according to the San Jose police and according to ABC station KGO in San Francisco.
They were expected to stop at a family member’s home in San Jose, California, on Friday, but they never showed up and haven’t been seen or heard from since Thursday, police said.
The family was in a maroon/burgundy 2016 Honda Pilot with California license plate 7MMX138, police said.
Meanwhile, on Friday afternoon, a maroon Honda Pilot plunged into the Eel River south of Garberville, a Northern California town north of San Jose along the 101 Freeway, the California Highway Patrol told ABC News.
First responders found the car completely submerged. Because of a strong current and poor clarity, the car was never recovered, the CHP said.
But authorities were able to determine the make, model and year of the car because of parts of it — a mirror and other debris — were found, the CHP said.
It’s not certain the Thottapilly family was inside that car; however, since they’ve still not been heard from, a missing person’s report was filed for the family on Sunday.
Fire departments, a rescue team, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office and the highway patrol are all involved in the ongoing search for the occupants of the car. The CHP also deployed a helicopter to help.
“They were just going on a road trip and they were very excited,” a friend of the Thottapilly family, Laura Knightley, told KGO. “Very excited to do the Oregon Trail.”
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