The New Jersey family members who drowned in their backyard pool were trying to rescue an 8-year-old from deep water — but none of them could swim, law-enforcement sources said.
The tragic ordeal began when the child — identified by neighbors as Sacchi Patel — jumped into a 6- or 7-foot-deep section of the above-ground pool at the family’s recently purchased house in East Brunswick on Monday afternoon, the sources said.
An aunt who was watching the girl called for help, and the child’s 62-year-old grandfather, Bharat Patel, jumped in to try to save her, according to sources.
But Bharat struggled in the water because he didn’t know how to swim.
So the girl’s mother, 33-year-old Nisha Patel, then jumped in. But Nisha also didn’t know how to swim and struggled to save both her daughter and father-in-law before drowning, law-enforcement sources said.
The aunt who witnessed the ordeal was able to reach the young girl in the water, but not soon enough to save her life, NBC New York reported.
The three lived in the house on Clearview Road, which the family bought in April for $451,000, according to public records.
A neighbor who spoke with Bharat before the incident told NBC the family recently had the pool fixed up — and Monday may have been the first time they had used it.
On Tuesday, Mayor Brad Cohen told NJ.com that the “entire East Brunswick community is shocked and saddened.”
“Our condolences go out to the family and may they find strength from the community that shares in their grief,” he said.
Authorities had originally been investigating whether the trio had been electrocuted in the pool, but ruled that out Tuesday afternoon. (NY POST)