[UPDATED With Photos] Diver and Orleans VFD Located Vehicle That Carried Mother and Daughters Into the Klamath River
She said the family understood why no one could go after the vehicle earlier. “We didn’t want anyone else to get hurt, but,” she said simply, “then again, they are our family.” She said the family is relieved to know that her sister and nieces are going to be recovered soon.
The operation to recover the vehicle started early today.“We got a boat and diver in the water this morning about 10:30,” said Orleans Volunteer Fire Department Board member, Penny Eckert. “The water has not come up a lot. It’s cloudy and it’s fast but we have experienced people here.”
Local people have been part of the search and rescue efforts almost from the first, Eckert explained. The next morning after the crash, she said, “Local folks who were still concerned about the family hiked to the area where the car entered the river.”
She described the process in an email. The searchers, she said,
… went down a river access trail, crossed a creek, and searched the steep slope the car took from the highway to the river. They walked along the river banks where they were even marginally accessible downriver of the entry site on both sides of the river. Other people descended from the highway to search. Car parts were found on the trail the car took down the slope to the river—a bumper, a headlight—along with a debris trail of items that came out of the car as it rolled down the steep slope. No people were found though several folks searched. The car apparently entered the Klamath River directly at the bottom of the trail of debris left from the accident between Highway 96 and the river.
The searchers believed the car was near the entry point, Eckert explained, “because it is a quiet back eddy, not a swift current portion of the river.”This morning, the diver suited up and slipped into the cold, cloudy waters of the Klamath with a boat from Orleans Fire standing by. “In about a half hour, the diver located the vehicle pretty much by braille,” Eckert said. “They were able to get cables on the vehicle and get it attached to a tree on shore.”
At this point, the California Highway Patrol and the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office are working to remove the vehicle from the water where it is located about 12 feet off the bank.
UPDATE March 9: The California Highway Patrol have confirmed that the bodies of Elizabeth Palmer and her two daughters were recovered.
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