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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

3 dead after falling into a hole in Texas cornfield

Police say three people were found dead Wednesday after falling into a hole in a Texas cornfield. (Dreamstime/TNS)  (Dreamstime/Dreamstime/TNS)
By David Matthews New York Daily News

Three people were found dead Wednesday after falling into a hole in a Texas cornfield.

Bastrop County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a report that people were trapped in a hole around 1 a.m. Wednesday morning. They were told that four people were hog hunting with dogs before the incident occurred.

One of the dogs fell into a cistern used to collect rainwater, which had also filled with hydrogen sulfide gas.

“One of the members of the hunting party ended up in the cistern, possibly attempting to rescue the dog. It appears that two other members of the party entered the cistern to possibly rescue the first person, while a fourth member of the party went to his truck to summon assistance and call 911,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement.

However, the water level in the cistern was eight feel below the ground and too low for the three people or the dog to reach the opening. As a result, all three and the dog were poisoned by the highly toxic gas.

The victims were identified as Delvys Garcia, 37, Denise Martinez, 26, and Noel Vigil-Benitez, 45. Each was from Florida visiting a friend in Red Rock, Texas.

“It’s a hunting accident that went bad,” Bastrop County Sheriff Maurice Cook said at a news conference on Thursday. “It’s sad that these young people lost their lives… Our heart goes out to the families. Can you imagine if you have loved ones that come here to hunt in Texas and it ends like that?”

The bodies of the three victims as well as the dog were recovered that evening around 7:30 p.m. after the water and fumes were cleared from the cistern and a deputy wearing protective equipment could be lowered into the hole.

Cook said the investigation was ongoing and the hunting story needed to be verified.