(CBS) — Two brothers drowned in a pond in Hobart, Indiana, Saturday night. One of the boys was nine and the other was just eight years old.

Donel and Terrion Smith lived in Gary and just a few blocks from their home was a pond in Hobart.

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And it was from that pond that Hobart Police officers pulled the boys – trying to save them, says Hobart Mayor Brian Snedecor.

“I was a police officer for 27 years and when something like this happens, your adrenaline kicks in and you do everything you can. That’s a human life. And certainly everything you can – within your power – that’s your focus,” said Mayor Snedecor.”When something like this happens, the whole community hurts.”

He said there had been some sand excavation going on at the pond just west of I-65.

Dasean Smith, a relative, was with the brothers when they went into the water.

“I got up in there and I tried to pull them out but I was about to drown too, but I got out,” said Dasean Smith.

A nearby neighbor dived in, but couldn’t find the boys.

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“It’s quite dangerous. As soon as you get in that water, it drops off, the police said about 15 foot or so,” said neighbor Dean Hashem.

Family members tell CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley the two boys didn’t know how to swim and certainly shouldn’t have been in the water at that excavation site.

But questions are also being raised about why the dangerous location wasn’t secured.
“Please block it off, whatever they can do,” said Tatiana Smith, the mother of the two boys.

Once filled with sand dunes and trees, the site is now being cleared for development, but it’s protected only by a warning sign, but no gate and no fence.

“They should have blocked it off. We wouldn’t have to be right here, right now, going through this,” said Tatiana Smith.

The two victims were both students at an all-boys academy in Gary. Donel would have been a 4th grader this fall, Terrion, a third grader.

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These aren’t the first drownings to touch the smith family as two of Tatiana Smith’s siblings drowned as children.