WARNING: Details in this story regarding the child’s injuries and death may be distressing to some readers.
The family of a young girl who tragically died on a summer vacation to Washington is speaking out after filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
Danika Ross was just 10 years old when she drowned in July after being sucked into an irrigation pipe in a man-made pond in Quincy, according to the complaint filed by her family’s attorney, Anthony Marsh of the Herrmann Law Group. The lawsuit seeks damages from Cave B Estate Winery, the Famigilia Water District, and two individuals alleged to be officers of Cave B. © Provided by People 10-year-old Danika Ross died in July after allegedly being sucked into an irrigation pipe in a man-made lake
The family alleges that the pond was located on a property owned by Cave B Estate Winery, although a spokesperson for Cave B tells PEOPLE the girl’s death took place at a nearby property, with which the winery shares a driveway.
When contacted by PEOPLE, a spokesperson for Cave B Estate Winery said their “hearts break for the family and Danika,” adding that they “cannot reply further until the investigation is complete.” A contact for Familigia Water District could not be found by PEOPLE.
Danika’s mom Margarita and dad Simon say the tragedy has left them heartbroken.
“It’s difficult to imagine your child’s death,” Margarita told CBS affiliate KREM. “But to hear how it actually happened, and thinking what she went through in the last moments of life, makes it way more horrible.”
Margarita and Simon told the outlet they were away for a family emergency when the fatal incident unfolded. They ended up learning about everything on a phone call with one of Danika’s older half-sisters.
“I got a picture of the sunset where all the kids are on the shore of that little lake on the beach during sunset,” Simon told KREM. “Then, about 10 minutes, or 15 minutes later, I get a phone call that I wish I would never get my life.”
“I said, ‘There’s no way it happened because she’s a great swimmer. She would be on the lake a few times a week her whole life. There was no way,'” Margarita added.
According to the complaint, which was obtained by PEOPLE, Danika was swimming in the man-made lake when she was sucked into an irrigation pipe. The lawsuit alleges that the pipe was not grated, was “larger than necessary, and had no warnings indicating the danger it posed to the public.”
After being sucked in, Danika was “thrust down into a 90-degree bend in the pipe” before her body “was transported nearly 70 feet up the hill via the mechanical pump mechanism,” the complaint alleges, referring to Danika’s death as “painful, gruesome, terrifying, and senseless.”
The Grant County Coroner’s Office concluded that Danika died by asphyxiation from drowning and the compression of her torso from the pressure in the pipe, though they were unable to determine which happened first.
Two of Danika’s siblings witnessed the incident but were unable to pull her from the water as the pipe’s suction was far too strong, according to a statment issued by attorney Marsh. Firefighters eventually recovered the young girl’s body from the pipe.
“Her family is devastated,” Marsh said. Echoing he allegations in the complaint, he called the incident “an easily preventable death if the company followed the law and installed required grating or sensors to shut down the system in the event of a blockage like this.”
The complaint alleges that Cave B and the water district were responsible for the “design, installation, and maintenance” of the pump and for promoting the lake for recreational use without warnings of danger from the pipe.
“This corporation failed to follow the law and this failure killed a child,” Marsh said in the release obtained by PEOPLE.
The King County Superior Court lists the case to go to trial in the summer of 2022, according to KREM.