SUV fell into California river where family was last seen

Posted April 12, 2018

Two days after Gujarat resident Thottapally Babu Subramaniam tweeted to Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, urging her to help locate his son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren, authorities in the United States are fearing the worst.

A family member reported Sandeep and Soumya Thottapilly - along with their children Siddhant, 12, and Saachi, 9 - missing Sunday.

According to reports in local USA media, there are similarities between a vehicle that was washed away in flood waters on the route that the family of Sandeep Thottapilly was traveling while on their way from Portland, Oregon to San Jose, California.

The vehicle disappeared into the swollen river in a pounding rain. Family members last spoke to them Thursday.

A family of four taking a West Coast road trip has vanished, and the disappearance coincides with a report of a vehicle sinking into Northern California's Eel River last week.

A flyer asking for help in the search was posted on a family member's Facebook page.

Replying to this message, Sushma Swaraj tweeted: "I am in constant touch with our Consulate in San Francisco". "Through the collaborated efforts of all the involved agencies, we are working to resolve this incident as quickly and safely as possible".

The lost vehicle was reportedly southbound on Highway 101, pulled into a turnout and went over the side and into the river.

The vehicle is the same kind that the Thottapilly family owned.

Six minutes later, the family's off apparently heading for Portland Oregon then, on their way back they planned to stop and see a relative in San Jose.

CHP says there's no way to know if it was the Thottapillys SUV that plunged into the river.

They were supposed to meet with family in San Jose on Friday, but they never showed up, according to the San Jose Police Department.

They were traveling in a maroon Honda Pilot, and their last known location was the Klamath-Redwood National and State Parks area, roughly 50 miles north of Eureka, Calif.

"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.

The family's vehicle was a maroon or burgundy 2016 Honda Pilot.

A CHP spokesman was not available Wednesday morning, but Officer William Wunderlich told the Times that small plastic pieces believed to have come from the vehicle were found at the scene.

The father of Sandeep Thottapilly reached out for help from Union Bank, where he says his son is the vice president.