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 / Updated  / Source: NBC News
By Tracy Connor

A bee sparked a chain of events that led to twin toddlers drowning in an Arizona canal last week, police said on Tuesday.

The victims' mom, Alexis Kesler, was pushing her 18-month-old sons Silas and Eli in a jogging stroller when she stopped and let go to fend off an insect.

"The stroller rolled away from her into the canal, with the boys belted in the seat. The mother immediately entered the canal and attempted to rescue her sons," Yuma police said in a release.

"Due to the speed of the current and depth of the water, and the steep incline of the sides of the canal, she was unable do so. The stroller was washed away by the current. After struggling to get herself out of the canal, the mother immediately summoned help."

City workers slowed the flow of water into the canal, allowing emergency workers to locate and retrieve the brothers. But they could not be saved.

Police said that the current in Yuma's canals are surprisingly swift and residents who walk, jog or bike alongside them often do not realize how deep the water is or how difficult it would be to climb up the embankments.

A family friend has set up a GoFundMe page to help with medical and memorial costs for the Keslar family, and it exceeded its $15,000 goal in two days.

"The community is grieving as well," said the friend, Marlene Gleim.

Twins Eli and Silas, 18 months old, drowned after falling into a canal in Yuma, Arizona.Courtesy Marlene Gleim