3 Floridians die rescuing dog in Texas underground water reservoir
Authorities called six different dividing teams to retrieve the bodies. However, all of them declined due to the gas affecting the water
August 11, 2023 8:49am
Updated: August 11, 2023 8:49am
Three people from Florida were found dead on Wednesday in Texas after they fell into an underground water reservoir while trying to rescue a dog that had fallen into the hole.
Police received a 911 call at around 1:02 a.m. reporting three people that had fallen into a hole in the 300 block of New Trail near County Road 461 in Elgin.
The group was on their way to meet a friend to go hog hunting when a dog escaped from their truck. While on the run, the dog fell into the underground water reservoir, which usually has an opening at ground level that is covered.
Three of the individuals in the group went to look for the dog, which they found in the cistern. One of the hunters jumped into the reservoir to try to rescue it. The other friends then jumped in to rescue him when he failed to come back up.
When authorities arrived at the scene they smelled fumes coming from the hole. They also found high levels of hydrogen sulfide, a toxic gas common in wells.
Police believe that the gas affected the buoyancy of the water, causing the victims to be unable to float.
"It wasn't long in the tank before they went to the bottom," Bastrop County Sheriff Maurice Cook said during a news briefing Thursday.
Authorities called six different dividing teams to retrieve the bodies. However, all of them declined due to the gas affecting the water. Police had to pump the water out of the cistern and ventilate it, and then fly a drone into the hole to check its integrity.
Police recovered the bodies of two men and a woman from the hole: Delvys Garcia, 37, Denise Martinez, 26, and Noel Vigil-Benitez, 45. The bodies were all sent to the Travis County medical examiner’s office.
"It's a sad day whenever it ends like it did yesterday," Cook said. "Can you imagine? You have loved ones and they come to Texas to hunt and then it ends like this, which was a sad tragedy that just happened."