CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Half of a family was taken in an instant. Police say three siblings from the Cleveland area drowned on a summer trip.
Family members say it happened while they were visiting their father at a beach in Texas.
“It was very devastating for the whole family and it still is,” Brescha Hines said.
She got the call last week.
Three of her little cousins were suddenly all gone.
“They were some beautiful kids,” she said.
She says her cousin told her he was on a Texas beach when all of the sudden, waves overcame his kids that were swimming in the ocean.
He and his wife immediately ran in to help.
“The water was just too strong,” Hines said. “My cousins even cut their feet trying to save them in the water. It was just horrible.”
Zanai was 13 years old, Zakai was 11, and their half-brother Zyon was just 7-years-old.
“I just think anybody with a heart this story would touch, because this is very unfortunate,” Hines said. “They went to visit their father and only one of them came home.”
Somehow, a bystander managed to save 10-year-old CJ.
“I would like to thank her because it could have been four lives instead of three," Hines said.
The dangers are not limited to the ocean.
Here in Northeast Ohio, just this summer, a handful of people have died in choppy currents of Lake Erie.
As a mother herself though, Hines says these dreadful drownings make her realize how important it is to be careful around water.
“That could have been my children,” she said. “That could have been anybody’s kids.”
She’s asking for one thing tonight.
“Just prayer. That’s all we need right now for the most part,” she said.
The family is also accepting donations as they put together the funerals.