Three parents recently died after falling through frozen ice at Woods Canyon Lake in Arizona.
Narayana Muddana and Haritha Muddana, the parents of two girls, were walking on the lake with another parent, identified as Gokul Mediseti, before they fell through the ice on Monday, according to the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office.
Firefighters told ABC15 that a woman and two children tried to save their loved ones before also falling into the freezing 30-degree water, barely making it out alive.
Deputies reportedly responded to the scene at 3:35 p.m., but it was too late.
“They were up here, recreational, enjoying it, wanted to get some pictures out on the ice,” Jon Paxton with the sheriff’s office told ABC15. “Hypothermia sets in very quickly at that point. And if you’re not a swimmer it’s that much more difficult.”
Haritha’s body was recovered on Monday, according to reports. Although life-saving measures were attempted, she was pronounced dead at the scene.
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The Gila County Sheriff’s Office Dive Units assisted in recovering the two other bodies on Tuesday.
“It’s really unfortunate,” Kishore Pittala, a neighbor who is currently watching over the Muddanas’ children, told 12News. “They [the girls] were in shock. I could clearly see that in their faces, they were in shock.” Naresh Babu Chimmineni, Narayana’s brother-in-law, told The Hindu that the girls — Pujitha, 11, and Harshitha, 7 — will be sent to India to live with family members there.
Meanwhile, Mediseti leaves behind a wife and one child.
A fundraising campaign on GoFundMe has been set up by Parvathi Mettu, a friend of the Muddana family, to raise money for the children.
“In this unfortunate situation seeking everyone’s help to support financially for the kids’ future,” Mettu wrote. “We can’t bring back parents for Kids. But let’s help for their future as they are in distress.”
Since Wednesday, the campaign has already raised over $612,000.