A Ukiah woman who had called 911 for help when her car became stuck in floodwaters Tuesday morning in Sonoma County was found dead on Wednesday after rescuers could not locate the vehicle earlier.
The call came in at 10:08 a.m. on Tuesday. The woman, now identified as 43-year-old Daphne Fontino of Ukiah, was in a dire situation, stuck in her car as it began taking on water on the 6000 block of Trenton-Healdsburg Road in Forestville, off of River Road. Waters from the flooding Mark West Creek had inundated the area, and she was apparently unable to move.
As the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office explains on Facebook, "The caller reported there was water in the car, then the line disconnected. Dispatch immediately tried to call back several times with no response."
Rescuers responded to the scene and reportedly tried to find the woman or her car, but they found nothing by the time night fell. The rescue effort included a Marine Unit, the county's Henry 1 helicopter, a CHP helicopter, several deputies, and Sonoma County Fire District Swift Water Rescue personnel.
Wednesday morning, the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office tweeted that they had made the grim discovery, locating the car submerged in eight to ten feet of water, about 100 yards off the road.
"A Marine Unit deputy dove into the water and determined the car was occupied but the occupant had died," the sheriff's office explains.
"Our deepest condolences to her family and friends," the sheriff's office said.
Fontino's is the 18th known death as a result of the recent storms across California. As Governor Gavin Newsom said during a press conference Tuesday, the death toll highlights the threat of wet weather disasters, given that this is more people than have died in wildfires in California in the last two years.
Last week, another casualty occurred in Sonoma County when a redwood tree fell onto a mobile home in Occidental, killing a two-year-old boy.