SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Divers entered the Sacramento River on Friday in an effort to recover the tow truck that crashed into it on March 26.
The divers are accompanied by a tugboat and a barge equipped with a crane. The victims' families gathered along the shore of the river to watch the progress.
"It's not real until we see them or feel them near us," said Poonam Nair, the cousin of Rosalyn Sharma. "So, we just want, hopefully, this to go good today and to get the truck out and see my cousin and have some closure."
Much of the morning was spent just trying to anchor the barge in place in the fast-moving current of the river. Jim Young, the public information officer with South Sacramento California Highway Patrol (CHP) explained that is what's complicating the rescue.
"Last Monday, when we had divers over there, they were comparing it to being in a hurricane just holding on to a flagpole," said Young. "That's what the divers are actually dealing with down there."
The barge was able to secure a tight hold and divers were sent into the water around 11 a.m. Still, officials say the recovery is complicated.
"They have absolutely no vision at all whatsoever," explained Young. "It's completely dark. They can put their hand in front of their face and they can't even see their hand, so it's very treacherous down there."
In a video shared on Facebook, an officer with the department explained that — in addition to the currents, divers must find the right spot of the truck to attach chains to.
"It has to be a part of the tow truck that is strong enough to withstand the forces of this crane pulling it through (more than 30) feet of water with a strong current and actually breaching the surface of the water," CHP said.
The victims' family confessed they were frustrated with the amount of time it has taken to even get to this point.
"This has been very hard because it's been going on three weeks," said Nair. "There's been no closure, there's no funeral. And we shouldn't have to wait that long to get the bodies and it shouldn't be about money for them to dive and rescue people. It's a shame."
Divers were able to put their hands on the truck relatively quickly once they were in the water Friday. However, CHP announced that recovery of the vehicle would not be completed Friday and crews would be back at 6 a.m. on Saturday, April 13.
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