Three hog hunters from Florida met a tragic end in Texas when they attempted to rescue their dog that had fallen into an underground cistern filled with sewer gas. The incident occurred in a cornfield on the rural outskirts of Austin, according to Bastrop County Sheriff Maurice Cook. The victims, two men, and a woman, along with their dog, were found dead in the tank.
The cistern, which had an opening of about 4 feet wide and contained 8 feet of water, was also filled with hydrogen sulfide gas. The series of unfortunate events began when one of the hunters entered the cistern to save the dog, a bloodhound. The other two hunters, whose clothing and boots were found near the hole, presumably removed them before jumping in to help.
Authorities believe that the toxic gas overcame the hunters in the cistern and sank to the bottom. The cistern, described as an open hole in the middle of a cornfield, had no cover. The victims were identified as Delvys Garcia, 37; Denise Martinez, 26; and Noel Vigil-Benitez, 45.
The cistern reportedly had a high level of hydrogen sulfide, a deadly gas. The hunting party included a fourth person from Texas who did not enter the hole. According to this individual, the dog had escaped from their truck, and they had tracked it using a device on the dog’s collar.
Recovery efforts were complicated by concerns about the gas and the structural integrity of the cistern’s walls. The tank emitted strong fumes, similar to those of a septic tank.
The investigation into the incident is ongoing. Autopsies were ordered, and the bodies were transported to the medical examiner’s office by a local funeral home, which also took care of the dog.