Sharmas missing

Roselyn and Shalvinesh Sharma, a couple who have been missing since March 26, are feared dead after their tow truck flew off the Pioneer Bridge and into the Sacramento River in Sacramento, Calif. The Sacramento Sheriff’s Department and the California Highway Patrol are continuing to search the waters around the point at which the vehicle went into the water. (Shalvin Sharma Facebook page photo)

A Fijian Indian couple from Sacramento, Calif., have been missing since March 26, when their tow truck collided with a big rig and flew off the Pioneer Bridge, plunging into the Sacramento River.

According to the California Highway Patrol, at about 8 p.m. on March 26, the tow truck belonging to Shalvinesh ‘Shalvin’ and Roselyn Sharma apparently collided with a big rig on westbound Highway 50.

A multi-agency search and rescue team has been attempting to search the waters for the Sharmas. Rescue efforts have been stymied by the fast-moving river, which is overfilled because of the vast amounts of rain.

After the initial rescue operation was called off, California Highway Patrol and the Sacramento Drowning Accident Rescue Team said in a statement March 27 that search efforts could not resume until the river’s current slowed.

However, on April 1, divers using sonar found the truck near the Pioneer Bridge, CHP public information officer Jim Young told The Sacramento Bee. “They did locate what they suspect is the vehicle under water,” Young said. The divers did not physically put their hands on the truck, but were able to “take a picture” with sonar, Young told the newspaper.

Recovery efforts will now begin, said Young, adding that rescue teams would likely float a barge down the river with a crane to rescue the vehicle and its presumed occupants.

Because the recovery requires approval from Caltrans, which maintains the Pioneer Bridge, and PG&E, which maintains a pipeline under the Sacramento River, there is not a time frame in place for the recovery, he told The Bee.

The Sharmas are the owners of Justin Towing Company, named for their son. The couple also have a 13-year-old daughter, Joselyn, and several family members in the area who have been vigilant with law enforcement to speed up search and rescue efforts.

“Their phones are never off,” Justin Sharma told CBS13. “From there, I knew something was wrong.”

Shalvin’s sister Sarika Batcha said the couple always kept in close touch with their family.

A vigil was held March 28 for the Sharmas. Family, friends, and employees attended the tearful gathering.

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