Southern California fire crews discovered a man's body Tuesday inside a van that had been buried under several feet of mud after a flash flood overran a road near Los Angeles last week.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department told KTTV that crews clearning the van off a road in Palmdale found the body.
The discovery could be the first death related to last Thursday's storm, which sent a wave of water rushing toward the Mojave Desert roadway. The flooding also mired more than 100 cars and trucks in mud farther north on State Route 58 in Kern County. Crews carted away the mud and expect to clear those roads within 24 hours.
KTTV reported that witnesses called city officials multiple times on Thursday to report that the van had been pushed off the roadway by the flooding. Officials said they had to wait until the conditions were stable to search for any missing persons.
"When the fire department got on scene, the conditions were such that it wasn't safe for them to search directly in the area," said Los Angeles Sheriff's Lt. Victor Lewandowski.
Police used a backhoe Tuesday afternoon to clean out the catch basin in Palmdale and found signs of a missing person inside.
“You feel for the people,” Katie Clawson, of Quartz Hill, told KTTV. “You feel for the people who maybe lost their loved one.”
Officials know the man’s name, but the family doesn’t want to release it, according to KTTV.
Meanwhile, the search for a missing 67-year-old man swept away by flood waters at the foot of the Tehachapi Mountains area was suspended after officials deemed the deep mud made the search too dangerous.