Three people from Florida tragically lost their lives in a Texas cornfield after they attempted to rescue their dog from an underground cistern filled with sewer gas. The incident occurred on the rural outskirts of Austin, where the bodies of two men, a woman, and their dog were later retrieved.
Bastrop County Sheriff Maurice Cook provided details of the unfortunate event. He explained that the cistern, which had an opening of about 4 feet wide and contained 8 feet of water, was also filled with lethal hydrogen sulfide gas. The incident began in the early hours of Wednesday when one of the people entered the cistern to save their bloodhound that had fallen in. The other two people, whose clothing and boots were found near the hole, also jumped in, presumably to assist in the rescue.
Authorities believe that the people were overcome by the toxic gas in the cistern and subsequently drowned. Sheriff Cook described the cistern as an uncovered hole in the middle of a cornfield. The victims were identified as 37-year-old Delvys Garcia, 26-year-old Denise Martinez, and 45-year-old Noel Vigil-Benitez, all residents of Florida.
Sheriff Cook noted that the cistern had a high concentration of hydrogen sulfide, a deadly gas. He suggested that the stagnant water and the decay of other animals that had previously died in the cistern could have contributed to the lethal levels of the gas.
There was a fourth member of the party, a Texan, who did not enter the cistern. According to Cook, this individual told authorities that the dog had escaped from their truck, and they had tracked it using a device on the dog’s collar. The recovery of the bodies was complicated due to concerns about the gas and the structural integrity of the cistern walls. The sheriff’s office reported that the cistern emitted strong fumes, akin to those of a septic tank.