Family in mourning after 2 girls killed in Petaluma crash

PETALUMA, Calif. (KGO) -- Two girls died Wednesday morning when their mother lost control of the car she was driving and plunged into a river. It's the second such accident in the last week.

Family members gathered Wednesday night at the scene of accident to pay their respects. They said the two little girls, 9-year-old Delilah and 7-year-old Sayra Gonzalez, loved to dance and sing.

CHP officials say Alejandra Hernandez , an unlicensed driver, survived a crash that killed her two young daughters in Petaluma, Calif. on Wednesday, August 31, 2016.

People who gathered along the river said they were shocked and shaken by the deaths of the two girls, who were on their way to school.

Amanda Wolf heard the mother, Alejandra Hernandez, scream for help as police officers and firefighters tried to pull her daughters out of the water.

Two young sisters died after the vehicle their mother was driving crashed into a river in Petaluma, Calif. on Wednesday, August 31, 2016.

"She was just screaming at the top of her lungs," Wolf said. "The babies were stuck in the car and it was just horrible and I'd tried to tell my daughter Ruby not to look. I said, 'Don't look, don't look."

Hernandez had just dropped the girls' father off at work nearby and was headed north on Petaluma Boulevard to Rohnert Park.

The California Highway Patrol says she drifted into the center dirt median on Petaluma Boulevard, over-corrected, then swerved off the roadway, plunging upside down into six feet of water. The girls died, despite heroic rescue efforts.

RELATED: CHP: Mom tried to reach 2 girls as truck sank into Russian River

It's hauntingly similar to a crash into the Russian River about a week ago that killed two girls. Four-year-old Hailey and 6-year-old Kaitlyn Markus were in the backseat of their mother's truck when it went off the road and into the river. They were on their way to school in Monte Rio. The investigators were en-route to Hailey and Kaitlyn's funeral when this latest tragic accident happened.

"A couple of us here were out in Jenner and planned to attend that funeral today just because we are parents and you know you feel it and it's especially hard when you're on scene and there's nothing you can do about it," said CHP officer Jonathan Sloat.

Family grapples with similar feelings along the river.

The CHP says Hernandez was driving without a license. Investigators have not determined the cause of the crash.

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