The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office search and rescue team on Thursday morning will attempt to recover the bodies of a young Chinese couple who crashed their car into the Kings River on Highway 180 in August.
The sheriff’s office said the water level in the river is about 10 times lower than it was when the couple went missing, making for safer conditions for search and rescue teams to try and recover the bodies, sheriff’s spokesman Tony Botti said in a news release on Wednesday.
After the bodies are recovered, the coroner’s office will work to confirm their identity and conduct an autopsy.
The bodies are believed to be 31-year-old Yinan Wang and his wife, Jie Song, 30. The couple was reported missing after last being seen at the junction of Crystal Cave Road and Generals Highway on Aug. 6. A sheriff’s helicopter flying above a steep canyon spotted what appeared to be the white Ford Focus they were driving deeply submerged in the water.
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The raging water proved to be too dangerous for deputies to access the wreckage.
The Chinese couple’s car was the second tourist car lost in less than a month on a treacherous stretch of Highway 180 through Forest Service land. Last month, a car containing the bodies of two Thai exchange students was recovered after their car crashed in the river canyon nearby.
Traffic on Highway 180 will be one lane during the recovery operation, and California Highway Patrol and the California Department of Transportation will conduct traffic control.