Girl Buried Alive in Sand Hole and Brother Hurt

( – Digging holes in the sand isn’t an unusual beach activity in Florida. If you spend any time on a beach in the Sunshine State you will see kids burying each other. Unfortunately, that’s what led to a young girl’s death and it wasn’t the first time.

On February 20, 7-year-old Sloan Mattingly and her 9-year-old brother, Maddox Mattingly, were at the beach in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, about 30 miles north of Miami. The kids were with their parents on a vacation from Indiana. While at the beach, the children dug a massive hole that was four to five feet wide by four to five feet deep.

The Broward County Sheriff’s Office told reporters that Sloan and Maddox got stuck in the hole when the sand collapsed around them. Maddox was buried up to his chest, but Sloan was not visible. According to The New York Times, a registered nurse called 911 to report the little girl was buried in the sand. Footage has circulated online showing people desperately trying to dig the little girl out of the hole before rescue workers arrived on the scene.

Rescue workers with Pompano Beach Fire Rescue managed to get the kids out, but Sloan was not breathing. They tried to resuscitate the child but she was later pronounced dead at the hospital. Sandra King, a spokeswoman for the rescue agency, said, “It was an unfathomable accident.”

In 2007, a researcher with Harvard Medical School detailed 52 such cases over a 10-year span in a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine. Of the 52 collapses, 31 ended in fatalities. The victims ranged from ages three to 21.

United States Lifesaving Association Vice President Tom Gill spoke to the Miami Herald about the incident and people die a few times a year from these accidents. Last May, a 17-year-old Virginia boy died while digging a hole at a beach in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Gill warned beachgoers, saying they “should not dig deep holes in the sand.”

Copyright 2024,