Kentucky girl, 7, buried alive while playing in a hole on a beach in South Florida

Kentucky girl, 7, buried alive while playing in a hole on a beach in South Florida

Sloan and Maddox Mattingly from Indiana did what all kids do when they can feel the soft sand on their toes. They started to dig and play.

At Lauderdale-by-the-Sea beach, however, the sand took on a life of its own and swallowed the two siblings. Sloan, 7, died, and Maddox, 9, is still fighting for his life in the hospital.

Family and friends of the children are now trying to make sense of the “freak accident” that killed the “purest human being.”

It was cold in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in the middle of February, so Therese and Jason Mattingly packed up their two kids, Maddox, 9, and Sloan, 7, and went to Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Florida, to visit family.

Before 3 p.m. on February 20, the family was at the beach making memories. The kids were playing in a big sand hole next to their guardians.

Next, the family trip left them with a memory that no one wanted.

“Everyone is screaming!” yelled someone on the beach who saw people digging through a hole quickly and then called 911.

The person who called said, “There’s a child that they’re trying to get out,” according to People. The caller then said she heard the father of the children “yelling for help because his child is caught in a hole in the sand.” While she was on the phone, the mother started to yell, “My daughter’s in there!”

Sloan and Maddox were both stuck in the sand hole, as the siblings were being buried alive.

NBC reports that several emergency services arrived at the scene and used boards to keep the sand from falling further and shovels to help Sloan and her brother get out of the big hole. It’s not clear how long they were stuck before they were freed.

Both kids were taken to the hospital, but Sloan died there.

Maddox was said to be in critical condition, and we don’t know how his recovery is going at this point.

“Our best 7.5 years were taken away yesterday in a freak accident while we were on vacation here. Do not tell us you are sorry for our loss. “We met the purest person, and she changed us forever,” her mom writes on the GoFundMe page set up to help the family with money. “We love you more than anything else in the world.” Sloan, our dear. What we’d give.”

The GoFundMe page, which has raised almost $146,000 of its $150,000 goal, says, “What began as an amazing family trip quickly turned into the devastatingly tragic death of their 7-year-old daughter/sister Sloan.” Your donation can help bring Sloan home from Florida, pay for her funeral, and ease their financial stress as they get used to their new lives. We know that no amount of money can bring beautiful Sloan back.

At the same time, many messages of love are coming in for the “sweet girl” who “was SO much bigger than her last moments.”

A friend of the family, Whitney Kanjala, sends a picture of the family outside of Lauderdale-by-the-Sea’s Sloan’s Luxury Ice Cream Shop. Along with the picture on her. She writes on Facebook, “She was the funniest friend you could ever ask for, the most loyal sister, the tiniest yet most acrobatic kid, and one of the best things Therese and Jason Mattingly ever made.”

The same picture was shared by Sloan’s dad on February 22: “We took Sloan to this ice cream shop with her name on it.” We made the most of the bad weather that day. We also went to an arcade nearby and sang karaoke at our Airbnb.

Locals “devastated” and “shocked”
One local told CBS, “I’ve lived here 50 years and I’ve never seen anything like that.” The beach doesn’t have any lifeguards on duty right now. “I am shocked. I’m shocked beyond words. I didn’t know that when you were digging, something could go wrong and cause it to fall on someone who was just playing on the beach

Another person from the area gave his own ideas about what the hole was.

A resident of Miami, Harry Defina, told NBC Miami that the kids were playing in a hole that a man had dug earlier, just 30 minutes before the tragedy.

“As I walked along the beach, I saw a man digging a huge hole up to his chest.” “I saw him look back at me, and I walked away. I didn’t think to go over and tell him not to do it,” Defina said. “It makes me mad that someone would say those kids dug that hole.” That hole wasn’t dug. It was huge and measured about 18 feet by 6 feet.

He tells what he saw when the kids were buried, but he can’t help but cry: “I see kids in the hole.” I could just barely make out the boy. All I could see was…I couldn’t finish this because all I could see was the girl’s head.”

The American Lifeguard Association also issued a warning about the dangers of sand holes because of the incident, which is still being looked into by police.

The recent tragedy in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea is a heartbreaking reminder of how important it is for everyone to work together to protect our beaches, according to Bernard J. Fisher II, who is in charge of health and safety for the association. By taking these steps and making our community safer and more aware, we can stop tragedies like this from happening again and make sure that our beaches stay fun and safe for everyone.

The group wants more beach patrols in places where people are known to dig in the sand.

Rest in peace, little one. It’s so sad that something so horrible happened while the kids were doing something so harmless.

Share this story so that we can show the family who lost a loved one some love.

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