[UPDATE 5:30 p.m.: Videos] Emergency Crews Search for Possible Victim After Car Found in Eel River
“We are responding to see if there are occupants in the water,” confirmed Selena Zorrilla-Mendoza, a Community Service Officer with the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff’s Office is sending a boat to the scene.
Southern Humboldt Technical Rescue is at the site of the incident where the four door sedan is submerged in the water. A “sheen” has been seen on the water surface which leads to environmental concerns also. Several tow companies have refused to attempt to pull the vehicle out stating that they did not have either the equipment or driver able to handle the difficult extraction.
UPDATE 1:44 p.m.: The vehicle found has been there several days, according to Diana Totten of Southern Humboldt Technical Rescue. The vehicle has been removed but has no occupant. A storm is predicted to come in tonight raising the level of the Eel so emergency personnel are scrambling to gather any possible evidence of a victim before it is washed away.
Southern Humboldt Technical Rescue has a boat and they are searching the area. A helicopter is as of 1:41 p.m. sweeping low looking for any personal or car related items. The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office has a jet boat coming to search also.
The Roadway is now open to traffic though.
UPDATE 1:55 p.m.: Videos from the scene graciously provided by North Coast News.
UPDATE 5:30 p.m.: Press release from the California Highway Patrol:
At an unknown date and unknown time, a tan Subaru Legacy was traveling southbound on Benbow Drive south of Lake Benbow Drive at an unknown speed. For reasons still under investigation, the vehicle traveled off the roadway in a southwesterly direction where it collided with a reflector post and began to overturn. The vehicle continued to overturn down the descending embankment and into the Eel River. The vehicle came to rest on its wheels completely submerged facing in a southeasterly direction. A thorough search of the vehicle and surrounding area was conducted by CHP officers including a CHP Air Operations, Technical Rescue and Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office. No persons were located in or about the vehicle or the surrounding area.