Image: County sheriff's dive team readies to enter the waters of the Delta-Mendota Canal
Elias Funez  /  AP
In this photo provided by The Patterson Irrigator newspaper, the county sheriff's dive team readies to enter the waters of the Delta-Mendota Canal in Westley, Calif., on Tuesday.
updated 7/17/2008 9:15:06 AM ET 2008-07-17T13:15:06

A sixth body was pulled from a rural, central California canal Wednesday after a collision between a septic truck and a sport utility vehicle carrying farm workers from a peach orchard. A seventh victim remained missing and is presumed dead.

The latest victim was found in the swift, brackish waters of the canal about 10 miles from the wreck in Westley, sheriff's deputies said. The victim was identified as Adrianna Garcia, 17, from Lodi.

The California Highway Patrol said the SUV ran a stop sign and was broadsided by the truck. Witnesses told the authorities they didn't see anyone escape from the submerged vehicles.

Family members and witnesses said the SUV was taking six laborers from the orchard back home to Lodi, California Highway Patrol Officer Mayolo Banuelos said. Initial reports suggested that two people had been in the truck, but investigators now believe there was only one, the driver. His body has been recovered.

The canal runs about 17 feet deep and 100 feet wide where the crash occurred, said Pete Lucero, a spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. The bureau operates the 117-mile canal that funnels water from a pumping plant to the western San Joaquin Valley.

Driver Luis Perez, 45, had been cleaning out portable toilets in a nearby orchard before the crash, said Paige Dawson, a spokeswoman for United Site Services Inc., which owns the septic truck.

Up to five gallons of sewage spilled from the truck into the canal but won't pose a problem for water quality, said Frances Mizuno, assistant executive director for the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority.

Araceli Martinez, who lost two relatives in the wreck, said both had recently traveled to California from the Mexican state of Guerrero to support their families.

"They were such hard workers until yesterday when this accident took their lives," she said. "They just came to help their families."

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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