3 members of Atascocita family drown in Costa Rica

Tragedy struck an Atascocita family when a flash flood struck during a vacation in Costa Rica.

ATASCOCITA, TEXAS - A Costa Rican vacation ended tragically for a family from Atascosita.

Three family members were swept away by flood waters during a trip to a popular tourist spot. Red Cross volunteers found the bodies of 38-year-old Marlon Piedrasanta and 67-year-old Esther Estrada the same day. They recovered the body of 6-year-old Angel Piedrasanta on Friday.

Mother Janet Quintanilla said Tuesday night they were so excited to go on the trip and she says they chose Costa Rica over Mexico because they felt it was safer.

But this tropical vacation ended horrifically.

"My angel," said mother Janet, crying during an emotional interview about her 6-year-old boy who didn't survive. "It was not just because he had the name, but because he was a sweet boy.

“Everybody loved Angel because he was so sweet. I think that it was our destiny that's the only thing I can think. God has a day for us or maybe we were at the wrong place at the wrong time."

The family was swept away by a flash flooding while swimming in a beautiful waterfall.

"We had heard something like a ‘pow,’ like you could hear a bomb or something,” Janet said. “So I turn around and I saw all the water that was coming, all muddy. And I could hear my daughter screaming, 'Mom, dad!' She was screaming for us and I said, ‘Hold on, Cassandra, while I go get help.’"

Thankfully, 15-year-old Cassandra made it out. The other three weren't as lucky.

"All the time we were together, we never were out alone until now," said Oscar Estraa, Esther’s husband of nearly 40 years. "She just went alone on vacation. The three people we lost, they were almost in every picture together, hugging each other. And now we're going to bury them, too."

The family had gone to that specific waterfall in Liberia because they were told it was closer than another one—a waterfall others had just finished swimming in and one they were told was safe.

"I guess it was not my day because had I been on that water, I probably would've been dead, too," Janet said.

Janet and Marlon met and got married in California before moving to Texas 10 years ago

She said she wants other families to hear this story so they're more careful about going to unfamiliar places.

The funeral for the three family members is now set for the Aug. 20. Friends in Atascocita have set up a youcaring.com fund to help the family bring the victims back to Texas and to pay for funeral expenses.

© 2017 KHOU-TV


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