Siblings from Indiana, Sloan and Maddox Mattingly, were playing at Lauderdale-by-the-Sea beach, as they were digging. Sadly, the sands swallowed the siblings, as 7-year-old Sloan lost her life, and 9-year-old Maddox is fighting for his life in hospital.

The parents, Therese and Jason Mattingly took their children, Maddox and Sloan, and went to Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Florida, from Fort Wayne, Indiana.

On the 20th of February, the family were enjoying their time in the beach, as their children were playing on the beach, where there was a big sand hole.

“Everybody’s screaming,” another person who was at the beach at that time described the moment when people started to dig the hole, as 911 was alerted.

“There’s a child that they’re trying to get out.” the caller said to the dispatch officer. The caller also explained that the father of the children was “yelling for help because his child is caught in a hole in the sand, and the mother was yelling, “My daughter’s in there.”

As more than one emergency agencies arrived at the scene, they helped to stop the hole from swallowing more sand, and tried to save Sloan and Maddox. The time spent for the saving efforts was not stated.

As both of the siblings were saved from the sand hole, Sloan passed away, while MAddox was in a critical condition, fighting for his life.

“A freak accident happened yesterday while we are here on vacation and it took away our greatest 7.5 years. Don’t tell us you’re sorry for our loss…don’t do that to us. We experienced the purest human being and we are forever changed by her,” the mother of the children wrote on the GoFundMe page she created.

“We love you beyond any stretch of the imagination. Our sweet Sloan. What we would give.”

The funding page received $146,000 from donations, and was written, “What started as an amazing family trip quickly turned into the devastatingly tragic loss of their 7-year-old daughter/sister Sloan. We know that no amount of money will bring beautiful Sloan back, but your donation can help bring Sloan home from Florida, cover funeral costs and ease the financial stress as they learn to navigate their new world.”

A friend of the family, Whitney Kanjala had shared the picture of Sloan, and stated, “She was the funniest friend you could ever ask for, the most loyal sister, the [tiniest] yet most acrobatic…and one of the greatest creations Therese Mattingly and Jason Mattingly ever made.”

“We took Sloan to this ice cream shop with her name on it. It was a rainy nasty day but we made the best of what we had. We also hit up a local arcade and sang makeshift karaoke at our Airbnb.” Sloan’s father had wrote as he shared the same picture.

“I’ve lived here 50 years, I’ve never seen anything like that,” a local said to CBS. “I’m shocked. I’m absolutely shocked. I had no idea that digging out…something could happen where it could collapse underneath someone just hanging out and playing on the beach.”

Another local, Harry Defina talked with NBC Miami, stated that the children were playing with the hole, dug by a grown man.

“I was walking by the beach, and I saw a man…digging a really big hole…up to his chest. I looked at him and he looked back, and I walked away, I didn’t think to go over and tell him not to do it,” Defina said to NBC Miami.

“I’m even upset that someone would imply that those kids dug that hole. They didn’t dig that hole. It was massive and it ended up like 18-feet-by-6-feet.”

“I see kids in the hole. I could see the boy a little bit, but all I can see…I’m not going to be able to finish this…all I could see was the top of the girl’s head.” Defina said.

The authorities are investigating the tragic situation, as Bernard J. Fisher II said, “The recent incident in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea is a heart-wrenching reminder of why we must work together to keep our beaches safe.”

“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.”

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