Girl Trapped in Sand Pit, Brother Injured

( – Building sand castles and digging holes on the beach is a common pastime for beachgoers, young and old. However, many might not realize that the practice comes with a bit of danger, as the medium is unstable and prone to spontaneous collapse. A recent incident in Florida highlighted that fact.

On February 20, the South Florida SunSentinel reported that a 7-year-old girl died after a hole she was digging with her 9-year-old brother collapsed with her inside. According to reports, the youngsters were playing on the beach at Lauderdale-by-the-Sea. They amassed a hole about five to six feet deep when it became unstable and collapsed. The little girl was completely trapped underneath her brother, whose head and chest were still exposed above the sand.

According to Fox News, emergency crews arrived on the scene in mid-afternoon, using support boards to keep the sand back so they could get the boy out and reach his sister. Reports said it was unclear how long they’d been trapped or if an adult was helping them dig. There was reportedly a video taken by a bystander showing people on the beach trying to rescue the kids before multiple emergency crews arrived. Once rescuers reached the children, they were taken to Broward Health Medical Center, where the 7-year-old girl was pronounced dead. Her brother is reportedly in stable condition but still under treatment at the hospital. NBC News identified the youngsters as Sloan and Maddox Mattingly of Indiana. They were vacationing in Florida with their parents.

Lauderdale By the Sea released a statement about the tragedy on social media, stating their “hearts [were] heavy” learning about what had transpired on the beach. The announcement said emergency crews from the Pompano Beach Fire Rescue, Broward Sheriff’s Office, and Broward Fire Rescue arrived immediately on the scene. The investigation is ongoing.

The American Lifeguard Association subsequently warned beachgoers of the dangers of digging holes in the sand and encouraged more patrolling at beaches known for sand digging.

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