Teens drown trying to help child along Texas river

LIBERTY COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- Two teenagers spent their last moments on this Earth racing to help a stranger in the Trinity River in Liberty County.

Deputies said they saw a 5-year old-girl in danger of drowning Sunday night. They tried to help but the water pulled them under. Both drowned.

Osman Airel Nieto said 17-year-old Wilmer Rodriguez and Jaerson Alvarez, 18, were there with family. Nieto witnessed the father crying out for help. He too tried to help but grew tired.

"He (the father in distress) say oh help me, help me," said Nieto. "Please help me. My little daughter."

Nieto said he watched on as his relatives tried to offer assistance. He said Rodriguez waded into the water and then fell below the surface. Alvarez then followed and suffered the same fate. Nieto said neither knew how to swim but never suspected the water was so deep.

The Liberty County Sheriff's Office said they plummeted into a hole between 40 and 50 feet deep with a swift current.

Nieto said just weeks ago Alvarez became a father to his newborn Emily. Close friends said Rodriguez always sent money home to Honduras to help his mother and younger siblings.

Both left the Central American country as teenagers looking for a better life. They worked 6 days a week. Sunday was typically their only day off. They went to the river for fishing and BBQ with family.

Loved ones are now trying to raise money to send their bodies back to Honduras. They've set up two GoFundMe accounts to help in the efforts.

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