A heart-wrenching incident unfolded in Texas when three hog hunters from Florida lost their lives after one of them attempted to save their dog, which had fallen into an underground tank, with the others following in a rescue attempt.
Bastrop County Sheriff Maurice Cook reported to CBS News on Thursday that among the victims was a resident of Miami Gardens. The unfortunate event transpired around 1 a.m. on Wednesday.
Located in a secluded cornfield near Austin, authorities discovered the lifeless bodies of two men, a woman, and their dog in the tank. According to Cook, the tank was essentially a cistern, about 4 feet in diameter, and filled with around 8 feet of water. Tragically, the water was also saturated with toxic hydrogen sulfide gas.
The tragic sequence began when one man tried to save their bloodhound, which had slipped into the cistern. Nearby, authorities found discarded clothing and footwear, implying that the other two had hastily dived in to help. It’s believed that the lethal gas inside the tank overwhelmed them.
Cook remarked on the unforeseen danger, noting, “It was a mere open hole amidst a cornfield.”
The victims were identified as Denise Martinez, 26, from Miami Gardens, Delvys Garcia, 37, from Naples, and Noel Vigil-Benitez, 45, from Wauchula.
The cistern’s gas levels were alarmingly high due to stagnant water and the decomposition of other animals that had earlier met a similar fate said Cook.
Another member of the hunting group, a Texan, remained outside and reported that the dog had run off, prompting the group to track it using its collar’s tracking device.
The recovery operation faced challenges due to the harmful gas and the tank’s unstable structure. The sheriff’s office highlighted the strong, septic-like odor emanating from the cistern.
To support the family of Martinez with funeral expenses, a GoFundMe page has been set up.