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HomeGeneral7-Year-Old Girl Dies at Florida Beach After Getting Trapped in Sand Hole

7-Year-Old Girl Dies at Florida Beach After Getting Trapped in Sand Hole

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A tragic incident unfolded at a Florida beach on Tuesday, resulting in the death of a 7-year-old girl who became trapped when the hole she was digging with her brother collapsed, burying them in the sand. 

Sloan Mattingly, vacationing with her family from Indiana in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, found herself stuck alongside her 9-year-old brother, Maddox, during an afternoon of play, according to the Broward County Sheriff’s Office.

Beachgoers, captured in a distressing 911 call, scrambled to assist as a registered nurse among them urgently reported the situation to emergency services. The scene was chaotic, with onlookers attempting to free the children from the collapsed sand hole before rescue teams arrived.

Sandra King of Pompano Beach Fire Rescue described a frantic effort to dig the siblings out of the hole, which measured approximately four to five feet in depth and width. Maddox was buried up to his chest, while Sloan was entirely submerged beneath the sand.

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Despite resuscitation efforts en route to the hospital, Sloan was pronounced dead upon arrival. Her brother, thankfully, emerged from the ordeal unscathed. The tragedy left witnesses shaken and the parents inconsolable as they grappled with the sudden loss during what was meant to be a leisurely day at the beach.

Authorities have investigated the circumstances surrounding the incident, including the cause of the sizable hole. Collapsing sand poses a known hazard, with up to three fatalities reported annually in the United States, according to Tom Gill of the United States Lifesaving Association. 

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Past incidents include the rescue of a 2-year-old boy from a collapsed sand pit in New Jersey and the death of a teenager buried in sand at a North Carolina national park.

Mr. Gill emphasized safety guidelines, advising against digging holes bigger than the knee level. Lifeguards play a critical role in monitoring beach conditions and intervening to prevent accidents, underscoring the importance of their presence.

ALSO READ: Authorities Indict Suspect on Capital Murder Charges After Discovering Body of Audrii Cunningham in a Texas River

Inquiries regarding lifeguard services at Lauderdale-by-the-Sea remain unanswered as authorities continue investigating this heartbreaking tragedy. Efforts to reach the Mattingly family for comment were unsuccessful.

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This incident report serves as a reminder of the inherent dangers associated with beach activities, urging vigilance and adherence to safety protocols to prevent similar tragedies in the future.

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