Local authorities have confirmed that on Wednesday, three hunters tragically lost their lives while trying to rescue a dog that had fallen into an underground cistern in Texas.
The four-person group had planned to meet up for hog hunting, but one of their dogs managed to escape from their truck and darted out into a cornfield in Bastrop County, located outside of Austin.
In the field, the dog fell into a hole that led to the underground tank, and the three victims — identified as Florida resident Delvys Garcia, 37, Denise Martinez, 26, and Noel Vigil-Benitez, 45 — tried to save the dog, and then each other.
“It’s a sad day whenever it ends like it did yesterday,” Bastrop County Sheriff Maurice Cook told reporters during a news briefing on Thursday.
“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,” he added.
The sheriff’s office said it responded to a report of three people trapped inside a hole in the ground around 1 a.m. on Wednesday morning.
It’s believed one of the hunting party members leaped into the cistern in an attempt to rescue the dog, the sheriff’s office stated.
The two other victims also got in the hole, “possibly to rescue the first person,” while the fourth person went to the truck to call for help.
The water level in the cistern was far below the opening of the hole at ground level, preventing their escape.
The three bodies, as well as the body of the dog, were recovered by 7:30 p.m., authorities said.
The cistern was on private property and the property owner, who was not identified, is believed to have recently died, the sheriff’s office confirmed.
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