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Two Californian teens die in bid to save dog

Dixon irrigation canal
© CBS News - YouTube

Tragedy struck the small town of Dixon, California this week when two local teenagers died during their rescue of a dog from an irrigation canal.

By Nick Whittle, 8 Apr 2019

On 1st April 2019 Jacob Hourmouzus and Jacob Schneider (both 17 years old) were playing with two other friends beside a branch of the Solano irrigation canal. Solano's 100 miles of canals deliver fresh water from Lake Berryessa water to four cities in the County.

Eye-witnesses said the two boys ‘sprung into action’ when they noticed a dog fall into the canal after it tried to cross from one side to the other. The boys jumped into the water to save the animal but soon realised they were being carried downstream and away from the dog. Instinctively, they grabbed hold of a nearby bridge to steady their progress.

According to the Solano County Sheriff’s Office, the teenagers next, ‘appeared to have been electrocuted and [were] unable to release their grip from the metal bridge’.

Rescue attempt an act of bravery

A third boy – a friend of the two who died – immediately jumped in to save his friends. He dragged them and the dog out of the water but inspite of his heroic efforts and those of the emergency services the two boys perished.

The dog received emergency medical treatment from a local vet and recovered from the ordeal; it has now been reunited with its owners.

Police investigating the incident acknowledged that some people had noticed, ‘exposed wires near the bridge when reporting on the incident, but no sign warning people of the electrical current.’ But the local government agency that runs the canal and its infrastructure, Solano Irrigation District, said the bridge should not have been live.

Speaking to CBS immediately after her son’s passing Jacob Hourmouzus’s mother Candy said, ‘My son died being a good boy.17 ½ years old is too soon for any young person to be taken off this earth.’

An investigation of the incident is ongoing.