HOUSTON (FOX 26) - A Good Samaritan helped save the life of a boy who was drowning at Sylvan Beach.
Veronika Alvarez, 24, was getting ready to leave the beach when her puppy alerted her that something was wrong. She says her dog is being trained to be a therapy dog.
“She started barking at me. She pulled me a little bit towards them,” Alvarez recalled.
The Chambers County Sheriff’s Office reports a mother, father, and four children were swimming on Thursday night when they began to have trouble.
Alvarez says ran into the water when she saw the parents screaming for the son.
“I saw him go under. He wasn’t swimming. He wasn’t paddling anymore, so I knew he needed to stay above water. So, I just [cradled] him. He gripped so hard on to me that it left these bruises and scratches,” she said pointing to her arm.
Alvarez says it felt she wouldn’t make it, but she wanted to make sure the boy did.
“I tried to hit off from the bottom and kept both of us up,” she explained. “And, I just kept pushing him forward, pushing him forward. I felt the water just come into my stomach. I felt the water go through my lungs.”
Alvarez made it to shore with him, but she was unaware that his brothers and sister were also in the water. The boy’s 13-year-old sister and 7 and 11-year-old brothers did not make it. Their bodies were recovered in the following hours.
Alvarez wants to know the children's names and tell the parents she’s sorry.
“I want to be there for the funeral for the others. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to grab the others but I’m happy that at least one did survive and I hope the boy that did survive know it’s not his fault,” she added.
Tasha Price also hopes to reach the parents. She was at the beach on Friday morning. She dropped off flowers and released some of them into the water.
She says she was there on Thursday night and tried to console the parents in whatever way she could.
“They just kept saying ‘my children, my children,’” Price said tearfully.
She recalled what the father told an officer.
“Once he knew that his kids were dead, he just wanted to be shot. He didn’t want to live,” Price added.
She like others are calling for there to be more lifeguards at the park.
Harris County Commissioner Adrian Garcia says he is working to change that.
“Regrettably, the long-standing life guard program for Sylvan Beach has only been to have them on duty as they are to date from Friday to Sunday,” Garcia explained. “We are currently reviewing that program to determine how we can enhance it. We need to hire open water certified life guards.”
Garcia was not able to give a timeframe.
The Chambers County Sheriffs office says it is not ready to release the names of the deceased.