Man drowns trying to save his dog at McKinney Falls State Park

A nice day in the park quickly took a turn for the worse for a 26-year old man and his two-year old dog.

While walking along the shelf on the Upper McKinney Falls, the young dog slipped and fell into the water. The victim then jumped in to rescue his pet but neither he or his dog made it out.

A witness told police the victim was able to reach his pet, but neither one made it back out.

"He and the dog were walking across, the dog slipped and he jumped in after the dog," Sgt. Mark Huard of the Austin Police Department said. "They saw him come up once but they never saw him again."

Travis County EMS, Austin Fire Department, APD, and Starflight spent most of Sunday afternoon searching for the bodies which were discovered just after 3 P.M., a few feet from where they fell.

Authorities say the area where they were found is one of the most dangerous in the park.

"There is a hydraulic that is created at the base of the falls, water goes in and it tumbles," Travis County EMS Commander Paul Alvarez said.  "It's like swimming in a washing machine basically. Additionally it creates a lot of air, bubbles in the water and it's like trying to swim in a diving pool."

Alvarez said the elements both in and out of the water created a dangerous setting.

"The hydraulic, the cold, the bubbles, and he not being a strong swimmer, seems like it added up to a horrible situation."

A horrible situation that could have been prevented.

"There was a little barricade up in the area saying 'do not enter, don't go down to the falls," Huard said.

Although this situation appears to be an accident, it also serves as a warning.

"You have to respect the water, you have to respect your ability in the water, and realize once you are in, you need to know what you are doing," Alvarez said.