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Minor daughters of drowned Indian-American couple under custody of child safety department in Arizona : The Tribune India

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PTI

Washington, December 29

The two minor daughters of an Indian-American couple, who drowned after they fell through the ice while walking on a frozen lake, are under the custody of the child safety department in the US state of Arizona.

A day after Christmas, 49-year-old Narayana Muddana, his wife, Haritha Muddana, and their 47-year-old friend Gokul Mediseti, drowned at Woods Canyon Lake in Coconino County in the US state of Arizona.

They fell through the ice while walking on a frozen lake to get some pictures.

By the time someone got cell service up the hill and first responders arrived with their limited cold water rescue resources, it was too late, ABC15.com reported.

Rescuers pulled Haritha from the water, but she was pronounced dead. The two men were found the next day.

The Arizona Department of Child Safety had to be called on Monday to come out to Forest Lakes and take custody of the orphaned girls, aged seven and 12.

“You never get used to it. Especially when you’re dealing with the children,” said Jon Paxton with the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO).

“We wanted to make sure they felt as safe as possible. Tried to keep them warm and away from the scene as best we could,” he added.

On December 26, three families – comprising six adults and five kids – drove up from the valley to enjoy the snowy outdoors.

“(They) wanted to get some pictures out on the ice,” said Paxton.

During the photograph out on the ice, three persons fell through and into the minus 30-degree water.

According to a statement released by officials with CCSO, “deputies stationed at a substation in the area were called to the lake after two men and a woman were walking on the frozen lake and fell through the ice.”

More than USD 5 lakh have been raised through a GoFundMe fundraiser for the families impacted.

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