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Heartbreaking News: Little Girl Passes Away After Falling into Deep Hole in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea

FORT LAUDERDALE – Unfortunately, a tragic accident occurred at a south Florida beach on Tuesday when a young girl was buried in sand and passed away after a deep hole she was digging with a little boy collapsed on them.

Emergency teams arrived at Lauderdale-by-the-Sea at approximately 3 p.m. and discovered a young boy, approximately 8 years old, trapped with sand up to his chest. Sandra King, the spokesperson for Pompano Beach Fire Rescue, provided this information.

The Broward Sheriff’s Office has officially identified the children as 7-year-old Sloan Mattingly and her 9-year-old brother, Maddox. Tragically, Sloan had no pulse when paramedics were able to rescue her from the sand, and despite efforts, she passed away at the hospital. On the other hand, Maddox was also buried but thankfully managed to survive.

Ocean rescue experts say Sloan’s death might have been prevented if the beach was staffed with lifeguards. In other nearby coastal towns, lifeguards are instructed to tell beachgoers about the risks of digging in the sand, and to stop people from digging any deeper than either knee- to waist-height, or about 2 feet. The hole the two were digging on Tuesday was between 5 and 6 feet deep, officials say.

Lauderdale-by-the-Sea does not have lifeguards on duty at its beaches. Pompano Beach offers fire and ocean rescue services to the town, and spokesperson Sandra King mentioned that they quickly responded to the beach incident upon receiving the report.

Jim McCrady, vice president and Lifesaving Academies director of the U.S. Lifesaving Association Southeast Region, who also serves as a surf rescue chief in Hallandale Beach, emphasized that incidents like this are rare on guarded beaches. Lifeguards are constantly monitoring for potential hazards and taking steps to minimize risks. It’s a routine part of their day to address issues like deep holes being dug in the sand. They not only advise against digging too deep but also ensure that any holes are filled back in before beachgoers leave.

Aimee Adler, the town of Lauderdale-by-the-Sea’s spokesperson, referred all inquiries regarding the incident to the Broward Sheriff’s Office. She did mention that the beach was accessible on Wednesday and the sand had been smoothed out.

    Sloan and Maddox were enjoying their time in the sand at the 4400 block of El Mar Drive around 3 p.m. on Tuesday, a typical beach outing for a family with many others nearby. Pompano Beach Fire Rescue arrived to discover Maddox trapped up to his chest in the sand, with Sloan buried completely underneath him. Onlookers captured the rescue efforts on their cellphones, showing the community coming together to help dig them out, as reported by WTVJ-Ch.

    The rescue team had to carefully use shovels and boards to prevent the sand from collapsing further as they worked to free the girl, King explained. At that moment, it was unclear how long the children had been buried before they were finally rescued.

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