A 5-year-old Georgia girl was killed after a 300-pound stone monument collapsed on top of her — and her frantic father and uncle couldn’t free her from the massive rock in time.
Bella Grace Bennett was playing with her sister at the Lee Street Resource Center in Blackshear, where the two girls live just a block away from their grandmother, when the monument fell over and landed on her head and shoulders, pushing her to the ground.
The 32-year-old monument, erected in 1989, appeared to be missing a bolt used to hold the stone slab upright, according to photos and video obtained by News4Jax.
A witness, who wishes to remain anonymous, tells the outlet that he was trying to save the girl when her father and uncle frantically tried to remove the stone monument from her.
5-year-old Bella Grace Bennett (pictured) was killed Monday after a 300-pound stone monument collapsed on top of her
“The father was trying to get this record off her all the time and it didn’t work,” he said.
“I tried to lift it so he could pull her out, but I couldn’t.”
Another witness said that Bella’s uncle held the girl’s hand until help arrived.
In the end, all three men were needed to remove the stone slab from the girl, but they were unable to remove the heavy stone slab in time.
The girl was rushed to a nearby hospital before being flown to Wolfson Children’s Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Bennett (pictured) was playing on the heavy stone slab with her 8-year-old sister when it fell on the girl’s head and shoulders, pushing her to the floor
Pictured: The 300-pound stone monument that fell on the girl at the Lee Street Resource Center in Blackshear
Images of the scene revealed that only one bolt was correctly attached to the stone monument. It is still unclear whether the missing bolt was in place when it fell. Blackshear police say an investigation into the tragedy is underway.
Meanwhile, the young girl’s family, along with community members and religious leaders, gathered at the scene of Bella’s tragic death on Monday afternoon to celebrate Bella’s life.
“This community needs you, O Lord,” prayed one of the mourners.
“We need you, Lord, as we have never needed you.”
Bella had just started kindergarten at Blackshear Elementary, and assistant principal Mandy Williams told News4Jax that the young girl loved to play with her older sister.
“That was one of her favorite things to do,” said Williams, who’s known Bella since kindergarten.
‘We are family. Our school is a family and the Pierce County land is in pain right now. Pray for their family. Right now they need your prayers the most.”
It eventually took three men to remove the stone slab from the girl, who was then rushed to a nearby hospital before being airlifted to Wolfson Children’s Hospital.
Images revealed only one bolt was correctly attached to the stone monument, while Blackshear police said an investigation into the tragedy is underway
The young girl’s family, along with community members and religious leaders, gather at the scene of Bella’s tragic death
Williams shared how much Bella loved being at school.
“I was going to be in the big kindergarten,” Williams said.
“I’d say, ‘There’s Bella.’ She (was) so excited to see me. You could tell she was happy to be there.’
The accident comes a month after an 8-year-old girl died after being crushed by a fallen marble railing in the Bronx on Aug. 2, DailyMail.com reported.
The girl and a friend were trying to squeeze through the marble columns when one of the railings collapsed and crashed directly onto the girl.
In July, a 2-year-old Texas girl, Delilah Hunt, died in similar tragic circumstances after a compressor plate from the air conditioning of a family truck flew and struck her on the head.
In that case, relatives said doctors told them her brain pressure reached a critical level because of the injuries.
Meanwhile, donations to help the girl’s family can be made to Blackshear Elementary School or Hart Funeral Home, according to the Black Shear Times.
The 32-year-old monument, pictured, was erected in 1989