Two teenagers died Thursday, hours after one fell into a Farmingville cesspool half-filled with waste and the other jumped in to save his friend.
The pair were unable to stay afloat and lost consciousness before being pulled out by rescuers.
The accident happened about 8 p.m. Wednesday in the backyard of a third teenager, Samuel Suarez, 16, police said.
"I wish I could return the time back and try to help them -- but I couldn't," Suarez said Thursday, tears streaming down his cheeks. "I couldn't do anything."
The deaths are at least the third and fourth to occur in a cesspool in Suffolk County in less than four years.
Suarez said neither he nor his two friends knew they were above a cesspool as they tried to use its 25-inch cement cover as the base for a campfire. The accident happened, Suarez said, as the three tried to haul the slab to another part of the yard for the fire.
Suarez, who had moved with his family into the Blue Point Road home in the past two months, had the slab propped up on his knees, exposing the hole.
Vanegas-Fuentes also grabbed the cover, lost his footing and stepped into the hole. Suarez said he then inadvertently dropped the slab, all but covering the hole.
Unsure what to do, Suarez and Calderon-Castro began taking off their clothes to go into the pit to help Vanegas-Fuentes.
Frantic, Suarez also yelled for his father, Ignacio, 45, who was in the living room watching television. They called 911 and Suarez's sister, Magali, 21, ran into the street screaming for help.
Calderon-Castro yelled he would rescue their friend.
"He's like, 'I'm going in!' And he just jumped in," Samuel Suarez said.
Once in the pit, police said, Calderon-Castro grabbed the unconscious Vanegas-Fuentes and took hold of a hose Suarez had thrown into the cesspool.
But Calderon-Castro quickly lost consciousness too, police said. Suarez said he never again heard his friends' voices.
Rescuers later pulled the two teenagers out and rushed them to Stony Brook, where Vanegas-Fuentes was pronounced dead at 1:30 a.m. Thursday and Calderon-Castro, hours later.
The causes of death were awaiting autopsy results. Police said detectives deemed the deaths an accident with no apparent criminality.
With William Murphy
CESSPOOL SAFETY TIPS