4, including newlyweds, drown in Dominican Republic

PHILADELPHIA -- The rough waters were much too strong for four family members from Philadelphia who drowned over the weekend in the Dominican Republic.

Newlyweds Kajal and Kush Patel were among the victims.

"What can I say about them? They were both beautiful. They were smart and I love them lots," Kush's father Sumant Patel said.

The Northeast Philadelphia couple was on vacation with 10 other family members near Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, Sunday, swimming off the east coast when Kajal needed help.

Her husband and his two cousins, brothers Shivang and Jay Patel, tried to save her, but the strong currents swept them all away killing all four.

"I couldn't believe it. I still can't believe. I still think they are coming back. It's been two days and it doesn't get easier, we just keep thinking about it," cousin Punit Patel said.

Family gathered at the Northeast Philadelphia home of Kush Patel's father Tuesday, but others remain in the Dominican.

Investigators reportedly said the victims were in a prohibited area.

"They didn't have any signs, no rules or regulations, and no help. They had to wait for an ambulance for almost an hour and half to get the rescue there," Sumant Patel said.

Sumant Patel says his 27-year-old son, a physician assistant in South Jersey, and his wife, a pharmacist, were married in November.

Shivang worked for a bank in Delaware.

Jay had a wife and a 2-month-old baby who were also on the trip.

Their cousins simply called them all good people.

"Kush was a fighter. So were Shivang and Jay, they would want us to stay strong for the family," Punit Patel said.

The Patel family says right now they're working on getting the bodies of their loved ones back home.

Funeral arrangements are still being made.

Family members hope to hold one large service for all four victims in the Bristol and Levittown area, but they're having trouble finding a venue that will accommodate at least 1,000 people.
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