The seven-year-old girl who died after being buried inside a sand hole tried to save herself by holding on to her brother during her last moments.
Sloan Mattingly was pulled out 20 minutes after sand sank around her and her brother, Maddox, on Lauderdale-by-the Sea beach.
Sloan’s grieving uncle, Chris Sloan, said the young woman kept trying to hold on to Maddox’s leg to get out of the sand, but eventually the boy could no longer feel her clinging to him.
‘We discovered it after the arena collapsed. “She kept trying to grab Maddox’s leg to get up from the sand and eventually he couldn’t feel her moving anymore,” Chris said. KFOR.
He described Sloan as “high energy and totally innocent.”
Chris further said that the family rarely took vacations and constantly texted updates in the family group chat.
Maddox was rescued and taken to the hospital in stable condition.
Sloan Mattingly’s grieving uncle, Chris Sloan, said the young woman kept trying to hold on to Maddox’s leg to get out of the sand, but eventually the boy could no longer feel her movement.
He also described Sloan as “high energy and totally innocent.”
“She kept trying to grab Maddox’s leg to get up from the sand, and eventually he couldn’t feel her movement anymore,” the uncle said.
‘She was always happy. It was very fun to be with her. She had a lot of energy and was totally innocent, and that’s what hurts the most in all of this.
‘They were having a good time. They were staying in an Airbnb. Everyone was very excited to see them out there.
‘They don’t really go on vacation much, but they went to Ft. Lauderdale to the beach.
‘They had been posting photos the last few days on social media.
‘I received a text, as did everyone in the group chat, to call a number for a conference call.
‘Once we all got on the phone, my brother David said, “Okay. What I have to tell you is going to be the worst news of your entire life.”
‘And that was. He said she was dead, that Sloanie was dead.
‘The sand had reached his [Maddox] chest, and he was screaming for help, and a lot of people came to help. In fact, there is a video of that.
“What we know is that she was unresponsive at the scene,” Chris said.
Sloan’s older brother, Maddox, was first rescued from the hole and was taken to the hospital in stable condition after also being injured in the collapse.
His school in Indiana, Lafayette Meadows Elementary School, issued a statement Wednesday mourning Sloan’s death.
A crowd gathered to help try to get the children out until authorities arrived.
Frantic passersby knelt and dug with their hands in a desperate attempt to reach the girl.
Heartbreaking 911 audio released this week revealed the frantic moments beachgoers tried to save Sloan after she was fatally buried.
A panicked witness can be heard telling the operator how the mother of 7-year-old Sloan Mattingly desperately screamed, “My daughter is there.”
“Everyone is screaming,” the caller continued, as people shouted in the background: “They don’t see his head, they don’t see his head.”
After about 20 minutes, the young woman was finally pulled from the sand on Lauderdale-by-the-Sea beach in Florida, but tragically succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.
A witness to the tragedy said “everyone is screaming” after the sand hole Sloan was playing in collapsed, before dozens of bystanders rushed to help pull her out.
Witnesses said the horror unfolded after Sloan and his older brother Maddox were playing in the hole when the ground gave way, and separate audio from the 911 dispatcher who alerted beach officials noted that about 20 bystanders were caught. They rushed to join the efforts to remove the girl. Of the sand.
The person who initially called 911 began by telling the dispatcher that there was “a group of people trying to dig.”
He said he realized something was wrong when he heard “the father screaming for help,” who “said his son was trapped in a hole in the sand.”
“The mother screams, ‘My daughter is there,'” he continued. “Everyone screams.”
Panic screams and screams can be heard in the background of the audio, and the voice of the woman who called 911 cracked as she warned the dispatcher, “They haven’t gotten the child out yet.”
The family was visiting from Fort Wayne, Indiana, when the tragedy occurred.
Maddox was seen walking outside the hospital on Wednesday. He appears in the photo with his little sister Sloan.
He said he could not detail the exact situation because “everyone is surrounding” the collapsed hole, but noted that he could not see the young woman’s head above the sand.
“Oh, this mother… oh, this is horrible,” they said at the end of the call, seconds before pain-filled crying could be heard in the background.
The siblings, their father and mother Therese, 36, were visiting from Fort Wayne, Indiana, when tragedy struck Tuesday.
Frantic cell phone footage showed a crowd of desperate beachgoers falling to their knees and using their hands to pull children out of the sand.
Some tried to hold the walls to prevent more sand from falling on the children.
Sloan had no pulse when she left the arena and was pronounced dead at the hospital, according to authorities.
Although deaths from sand holes are very rare, they are not unheard of and studies and warnings have been published about them.
People have left tributes to the seven-year-old boy on the beach in Fort Lauderdale.
According to Dr. Stephen Leatherman of the Department of Earth and Environment at Florida International University, deep sand holes can be a death trap.
The expert explained that once a person’s body is below the level of the sand, the sand begins to dry immediately.
‘When people dig holes more than two feet deep and get into them, at least where their body is below the level of the sand, the sand begins to dry immediately.
“And dry sand can only hold a 33-degree angle and people dig these holes almost vertically.”
At that point, the sides of the hole usually begin to sink very quickly and sand begins to fall into the hole at an alarming rate.
Leatherman also noted that there is also a risk of someone stepping on the edge of a hole before the sand dries and causes a massive collapse.
“The deeper the hole, the greater the risk,” said the expert. NBC.