The parents of two young girls and another father died of hypothermia after they plunged through the ice on an Arizona lake the day after Christmas, officials said.
The two families were visiting Woods Canyon Lake with another family Monday when three of the parents fell into the freezing 30-degree water.
The victims have been identified as Narayana Muddana, 49, his wife Haritha, and Gokul Mediset, 47, according to the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office.
The families were all originally from India but lived in Chandler, a city southeast of Phoenix.
“They were up here, recreational, enjoying it, wanted to get some pictures out on the ice,” Jon Paxton, who works with the sheriff’s office, told ABC 15.
Firefighters told ABC 15 that two children and a woman tried to rescue their loved ones and also fell through the ice, barely making it out alive.
By the time they had gotten out of the water and were able to get cell service to call first responders, it was too late.
“Hypothermia sets in very quickly at that point,” Paxton said. “And if you’re not a swimmer it’s that much more difficult.”
The Muddanas had two young daughters — Pujitha, 11, and Harshita, 7 — who are now staying with their neighbors, Narayana’s brother-in-law Naresh Babu Chimmineni told local Indian outlet The Hindu.
“Authorities in the US have said that as the girls are minors, they can be sent back to India only with a blood relative. Either the paternal or the maternal grandparents of the children will be going to the US to bring them back,” he added.
Three other children from the other two families also witnessed the tragic incident.
Haritha Muddana’s age was not immediately clear.
The incident is under investigation.