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Young girl dies after being buried alive digging sand on Florida beach, brother injured

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A girl was killed on a South Florida beach when a large sand hole she and her brother were digging fell on them, authorities said Tuesday.

The girl, believed to be around seven years old, was playfully digging a hole with an eight-year-old boy in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea when tragedy struck and sand caved in on top of them. Lauderdale-by-the-Sea is a town in Broward County located approximately 53 miles north of Miami.

Pompano Beach Fire Rescue spokeswoman Sandra King said emergency personnel responded to the scene around 3 p.m. and found the boy with his chest buried in the sand.

Investigators take photos of the scene of a sandslide on the beach in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Florida, on Tuesday, February 20, 2024. A girl died in a large sand hole that she was digging with her brother. Both collapsed on a South Florida beach Tuesday, authorities said. (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel, via AP)

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King told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that the girl, about 7 years old, was completely buried beneath the boy and that the hole was 5 to 6 feet deep when the collapse occurred.

Frenzied video obtained by CBS News Miami shows good Samaritans on the beach desperately trying to dig the children out of the hole. They were trying to cling to the walls of the hole to keep it from collapsing any further.

King said rescuers used support boards to prevent the sand from collapsing further as they used shovels to dig out the children. It’s unclear how long it was buried in the sand before being pulled out.

pale caution tape

A bucket sits next to caution tape on a beach in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Florida, Tuesday, February 20, 2024. On Tuesday, a young girl was buried in sand and killed by a deep hole she had dug with her hands. A boy collapsed on top of them on a south Florida beach, authorities said. (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel, via AP)

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“It was an unfathomable accident,” King told the Miami Herald.

King said the girl had stopped breathing by the time rescuers arrived, and her younger siblings were rushed to Broward Health Medical Center.

The girl was pronounced dead on arrival, but the boy was hospitalized in stable condition.

Lauderdale-by-the-Sea

Lauderdale-by-the-Sea is a town in Broward County located approximately 53 miles north of Miami. (Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group, via Getty Images))

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Aerial photos of the scene showed a sand pit surrounded by cones and yellow police tape.

The identities of the boy and girl have not yet been released.

It was not immediately clear whether adults were helping the children dig.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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