Leggett, California: Last night rescue workers brought the Honda Pilot SUV that fell in to the Eel River on April 6 to the shore. The bodies of Sandeep Thottappilly (42) and his daughter Sachchy (9) were found in it.
The bodies were taken to a local morgue.
The body of Soumya Thottappilly (38) was found on Friday and an autopsy was scheduled for tomorrow. The body of Sidhant (12) is still missing and a search is going on today, even though heavy rains and snow have created a hazardous condition.
Sources said the body of Sandeep, vice president of the Union Bank in Santa Clarita near Los Angeles was found from the rear area of the car. It is believed that he might have moved back to save the children. The window of the car was also broken.
Sandeep and family were returning from Oregon when their car met with the accident. Pat Berkovitz, a teacher in Oregon, who saw the car fall in to the river called the police. By the time they arrived the vehicle submerged in the river and was gone. They could not do much as the water level in the river was dangerous
Sandeep and family were scheduled to meet a cousin in San Jose on April 6 evening, but never turned up. Later they filed a missing person complaint with the police.
The search consisted of 21 water searchers which included 2 Jet Ski teams, 2 Boat teams and several Kayak/Carlson board teams.
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 (down stream). The searchers began to probe the water and located a vehicle submerged approximately 4-6 feet beneath the water.
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.
Recovery efforts continued for several hours and at approximately the vehicle was partially removed from the
Searchers subsequently recovered the bodies of Sandeep Thottapilly and Saachi Thottapilly from inside the vehicle.
Autopsies are expected to be performed this week as part of the Coroner's investigation into the incident.
Another search operation will be conducted on
Meanwhile, two members of the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue team, who participated in the search, met with an accident were injured seriously. Both were transported to Howard Memorial Hospital with major injuries. (see release below)
The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office would like to thank the following public
safety agencies who assisted in the 04-15-2018 search:
Marin County Fire Department
Southern Marin Fire Department
Kentfield Fire District
Hopland Fire Department
Piercy Volunteer Fire Department
Leggett Volunteer Fire Department
Humboldt County Sheriff's Office
Humboldt County Search & Rescue
Napa County Search & Rescue
Southern Humboldt Technical Rescue Team
Little Lake Fire District
Mendocino County Search & Rescue
California Highway Patrol
Graton Fire Department
Santa Rosa Fire Department
Sonoma Valley Fire Department
Shasta County Sheriff's Office
Shasta County Search & Rescue
On 04/15/2018, at approximately 1847 hours, Clayton Chaney, of Redding, CA was driving his 1999 Toyota Tacoma pickup southbound on US-101 south of Leggett, CA at an unknown rate of speed. For unknown reasons, Chaney allowed his Toyota to leave the west road edge of US-101 and travel onto the dirt/grass embankment.
Chaney attempted to correct the path of the Toyota, however, the Toyota began to slide in a counter clockwise manner. The passenger side of the Toyota impacted a guardrail and the Toyota rolled over onto it’s top.
Both Chaney and his passenger, Robert Talbott, of Corning, CA had to be extricated by fire personnel. Both were transported to Howard Memorial Hospital with major injuries.
Both Chaney and Talbott are members of the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue team and were in the area on assignment.
Alcohol and/or drugs do not appear to be factor in this collision. The California Highway Patrol is investigating this collision.