updated 11/28/2008 7:10:50 PM ET 2008-11-29T00:10:50

Three members of the same family drowned on Thanksgiving after being swept out to sea while photographing the surf from a rocky outcrop along Southern California's coast, authorities said Friday.

Two other relatives who lived in the same house with the victims were also washed away by a wave but managed to pull themselves to safety.

"To take out three members of the family — it's just horrible," Ventura County sheriff's Senior Deputy Julie Novak said.

Police said two victims were Catalino Ramos Vazquez and Pedro Avila Ramos, both 19. A 17-year-old brother of Vazquez also died, but police would not release his name because he was a juvenile.

Police previously had given the victims' ages as 17, 19 and 21.

The trio were taking pictures
The three died while photographing the surf from Point Mugu, a popular spot for hikers and fishers. There is no beach at the spot, and waves can swell over the rocks with little warning.

A wave estimated to be more than three feet tall crashed onto the rocks and pulled the five men into the ocean, Novak said.

"These aren't big waves, but they are very strong and dangerously deceiving," she said.

One survivor was identified as Pedro Vazquez, 27. The second survivor's identity was withheld because he is 17. Their exact family relationship was not immediately available.

Pedro Vazquez and the teen began yelling for help after reaching the shore.

Kathryn Barrona, 24, pulled one of the victims from the water, but he was already dead.

"It was really bad," Barrona told the Los Angeles Times. "I couldn't tell you how cold the water was. I didn't realize how bad the current was."

A sheriff's helicopter crew later retrieved the bodies of the other two men.

Earlier this year, a 16-year-old boy also drowned at Point Mugu while fishing.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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