Three hog hunters from Florida, along with their dog, died in an underground tank filled with sewer gas after attempting a rescue. The bodies of two men and a woman were recovered from the tank, which contained water and hydrogen sulfide gas. The incident occurred in a cornfield on the outskirts of Austin, Texas. The victims were identified as Delvys Garcia, Denise Martinez, and Noel Vigil-Benitez. The cistern had a high level of hydrogen sulfide, making it deadly. Efforts to recover the bodies were hindered by the gas and structural concerns. PAUL J. WEBER reported
Three hog hunters from Florida tragically lost their lives in a distressing incident that took place in a rural area on the outskirts of Austin, Texas. The unfortunate sequence of events unfolded when one of the hunters noticed their dog had fallen into an underground tank, prompting him to enter the tank in an attempt to rescue the animal. In a devastating turn of events, the other two hunters bravely followed suit in an effort to save their companions.
The bodies of the two men, one woman, and the dog were eventually recovered from the tank, which turned out to be a cistern containing both water and hydrogen sulfide gas. Sheriff Maurice Cook of Bastrop County revealed that the hole had an opening measuring approximately 4 feet wide and was filled with 8 feet of water.
According to Cook, the incident occurred during the early hours of Wednesday when one of the men, presumably driven by concern for the dog’s safety, entered the cistern. The clothing and boots belonging to the other two hunters were found near the hole, indicating that they had removed them before joining the rescue attempt. The sheriff believes that the hunters were overwhelmed by the toxic gas and subsequently sank to the bottom of the cistern.
Cook emphasized the lack of cover over the hole, describing it as an open pit in the middle of a cornfield. The victims were identified as Delvys Garcia, aged 37; Denise Martinez, aged 26; and Noel Vigil-Benitez, aged 45. All three were residents of Florida.
The sheriff explained that the cistern contained a dangerously high concentration of hydrogen sulfide gas. The presence of stagnant water and the decomposition of other deceased animals previously in the cistern could have contributed to these lethal levels.
A fourth person from Texas was part of the hunting party but did not enter the hole. This individual informed authorities that the dog had escaped from their truck and was tracked using a device attached to its collar.
The recovery efforts faced challenges due to concerns over the gas and the structural stability of the cistern’s walls. The tank emitted potent fumes reminiscent of a septic tank, further complicating the operation, as reported by the sheriff’s office..