Site icon Virgin Islands Free Press

Indiana girl, 5, dies after getting trapped in sand while on a Florida beach vacation

Indiana girl, 5, dies after getting trapped in sand while on a Florida beach vacation

FORT LAUDERDALE — A 5-year-old Indiana girl died and her 9-year-old brother was hospitalized after the sand hole they were digging in at a Florida beach collapsed on top of them, authorities said.

Sloan and Maddox Mattingly were playing at a beach in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea when they became trapped in the sand, the Broward Sheriff’s Office said. They were on vacation with their parents.

Multiple agencies responded to a call about the incident around 3:16 p.m. Tuesday. Cellphone video obtained by NBC South Florida showed several beachgoers using their hands to try and free the children.

Rescuers used support boards to prevent the sand from collapsing further and shovels to dig the siblings out from the hole that was about 5 deep, Sandra King, a spokesperson for Pompano Beach Fire Rescue, told the news station.

It’s not clear how long the children were trapped before they were rescued. Staff members at the town hall said the beach does not have lifeguards.

Both children were taken to the hospital, where Sloan later died. Maddox is stable, NBC affiliate WPTV of West Palm Beach reported.

“Our hearts are heavy in LBTS today after learning two children were trapped in the sand,” the Town of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea said in a statement on Facebook.

The incident prompted a warning from the American Lifeguard Association about the dangers of sand holes. The association also said it is advocating for increased beach patrols in areas known for sand digging and requested that beach patrols enhance its emergency response training.

“The recent incident in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea is a heart-wrenching reminder of why we must work together to keep our beaches safe,” said Bernard J. Fisher II, the association’s director of health and safety. “By implementing these measures and fostering a community of safety and awareness, we can prevent future tragedies and ensure that our beaches remain places of joy and recreation for everyone.”


Burke is a senior breaking news reporter for NBC News.

If you enjoy reading the Virgin Islands Free Press, please let John know by sending $25.00 via PayPal to:

Exit mobile version