FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Hoisted into a helicopter Thursday afternoon were the bodies of two tourists from San Diego.
For weeks the car they were in was fully submerged in the Kings River between two Canyon Walls.
"We estimate the river flow was about 1500 cubic feet per second back when the crash happened but it's about 165 now. So, you are looking at close to 10 times less water," said Tony Botti.
Fresno County Sheriff's deputies rappelled 400 feet down a steep rocky cliff for the second time in weeks--this time to recover the remains of 31-year-old Yinan Yee-non Wang and his wife, 30-year-old Jie Song.
Their family members did not witness the operation Thursday, but sheriff's officials say they are grateful the mission was finally possible.
"Hopefully by the end of this we provide the answers they have been looking for, can deliver them their relatives and they can hold the services that they deserve," said Botti.
California highway patrol officers are not sure what caused the couple to veer off the road. They are hoping a closer look at the mangled car will eventually give them more insight, but much of the information they need may have been destroyed.
"They have an onboard computer, where a lot of the times we can recover information about the speed of the vehicle, whether there was braking prior to the collision. The vehicle has been submerged in the water so I'm not sure what information we'll be able to recover," said Lieutenant Shaun Crosswhite.
The tourists were last seen August 6 at Crystal Caves. Relatives reported them missing after discovering they never made it to their next destination. Search and rescue crews pieced together clues along Highway 180 near horseshoe bend-the same area where another pair plummeted off a cliff in the same general area.
Bodies of two Chinese tourists recovered at Sequoia National Forest
SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK