Two 17-year-old boys who jumped into a Northern California irrigation canal to rescue a dog were killed when they grabbed onto an electrified bridge, authorities said Tuesday. Jacob Hourmouzus and Jacob Schneider died of electrocution, according to the Solano County Sheriff's Department.
The department told The Sacramento Bee the pair was crossing a bridge over the canal with two other teenagers and the dog Monday afternoon when the animal either jumped or fell into the water. Hourmouzus and Schneider tried to pull themselves and the dog out of the fast-flowing water by grabbing hold of the bridge, which had an electric current running underneath it.
As the electricity froze their grip to the bridge, another teenage boy jumped in and managed to knock them free, sheriff's officials said. Meanwhile, a teenage girl with the group called 911.
The boy who jumped in after the two was Schneider's cousin, Kelby Holland, CBS station KOVR-TV reports. "He was saving his dog," Holland told the station. "He loved his dog a lot, and I had the unfortunate role of jumping in after them, but it happens."
Holland managed to pull Hourmouzus, Schneider and the dog to the shore by the time authorities arrived. Hourmouzus and Schneider died Monday night at a hospital; the dog was injured and survived.
Hourmouzus' mother, Candy Carrillo, told CBS station KPIX-TV that her son "paid the ultimate price" for trying to help his friend. "I've just tried to wrap my hands around my son not ever coming home or saying, 'Good morning, Mama,' or, 'I love you,' or his birthday in May or graduation," Carrillo said.
Carrillo complained there were no signs anywhere in the area warning that the bridge was electrified or that the water in the canal was dangerously swift. "They could have put up signs. They could have fixed the downed power lines or the short circuit they had. They could have prevented these kids from going down these roads," she told The Bee.
Sheriff's officials said they were trying to learn why electricity, since shut off, was running through the bridge southwest of Sacramento. Hourmouzus and Schneider both attended Dixon High School, where Principal Stephanie Marquez said counseling was being made available to their fellow students.
Carrillo said her son was "a senior in high school fixing to graduate, to start his life." "That's too soon for any young person to be taken off this Earth," she said. "My son was an amazing person. He was kind, caring and lovable."
Carrillo said her son once pressed the family to take in a friend who needed a place to stay. "He had a friend who was getting evicted and he was like, 'Mom, my friend needs a place to live.' I'm like 'OK, we'll send him back to his parents,' and he was like, 'No, he doesn't have a family. Can he move in with us? I'll share my bedroom with him.' So we moved him in with us and shared a bedroom with him."
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