7-Year-Old Girl Buried Alive While Playing in Sand Hole on Florida Beach

children playing in sand at beach
Antonio Garcia Recena via Getty

A little girl has died after being buried alive when a hole she and her brother were digging on a Florida beach collapsed on them Tuesday.

The seven-year-old girl was playing in the sand in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea with her nine-year-old brother when the five- or six-foot deep hole fell in, Pompano Beach Fire Rescue spokeswoman Sandra King told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Fire and Rescue received an emergency call to respond to the 4400 block of El Mar Drive shortly after 3:00 p.m, King said. According to the rescue team, it is unclear whether adults were helping the children dig the hole. 

Both siblings were inside the hole when it toppled in on itself, burying the boy up to his chest, while the girl was completely buried beneath him. 

Video footage recorded by a witness and given to NBC Miami shows at least ten people gathered around the hole attempting to dig them out, though it’s unclear how long the children were trapped.

When the Fire Rescue team managed to pull the girl from the hole, she did not have a pulse and was rushed to Broward Health Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale, King said.

“We were conducting life-saving techniques to try to bring her pulse back, and it never did recover and she was pronounced dead at the hospital,” she reported.

The boy was also taken to the hospital, but is in stable condition. 

While King did not release the exact ages or identities of the children, the town of Lauderale-by-the-Sea identified the victim as seven-year-old Sloan Mattingly, who was playing with her older brother, Maddox Mattingly.

“We are heartbroken following the news that five-year-old Sloan Mattingly has passed away. Our deepest condolences are with the Mattingly family during this difficult time,” a spokesperson said in a press release. [Sloan’s age was initially reported as five, but later corrected to seven.]

“The circumstances into this incident remain under investigation.”


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