Indiana girl, 7, buried alive playing in hole on south Florida beach

When children visit the beach, they do what every child does – they play and dig. Sloan and Maddox Mattingly, a pair of siblings from Indiana, were no different. They were enjoying the sunny beaches of Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Florida when an unexpected and tragic incident occurred. While playing in a large sand hole, the sand took on a life of its own, burying Sloan, 7, and leaving her brother Maddox, 9, fighting for his life in the hospital. This “freak accident” has left their parents and loved ones grappling with the loss of their precious Sloan, who they describe as the “purest human being.”

A Vacation Turned Tragic

In mid-February, Therese and Jason Mattingly decided to escape the chilly winter of Fort Wayne, Indiana and head to the sunny beaches of Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Florida with their two children, Maddox and Sloan. On February 20, tragedy struck while the family was making precious memories at the beach. The children were playing in a sand hole near their parents when suddenly, panic ensued.

Eyewitnesses described the harrowing scene, with beachgoers frantically digging through the sand hole and calling 911 for help. Both Sloan and Maddox were trapped as the sand continued to swallow them alive.

Race Against Time

Multiple emergency agencies rushed to the scene to rescue the trapped siblings. Using support boards to prevent further collapsing, along with shovels to dig, the rescue team worked tirelessly to free Sloan and Maddox from the large hole. It remains unknown how long the children were trapped before being pulled out.

Both children were immediately taken to the hospital, but sadly, Sloan could not be saved. Maddox, on the other hand, remains in critical condition, and his road to recovery is uncertain.

Devastation and Support

The Mattingly family and their loved ones are devastated by this unimaginable tragedy. A GoFundMe page was created to help support the family, and the response has been overwhelming. With almost $146,000 raised out of the $150,000 goal, the funds will go towards bringing Sloan home from Florida, covering funeral costs, and easing the financial stress as the family learns to navigate their new world.

As friends and family pour in with messages of love, Sloan is remembered as a funny and loyal friend, a acrobatic sister, and one of the greatest creations of her parents. Their love for Sloan knows no bounds, and their lives have been forever changed by her presence.

Tragic Accident Sparks Awareness

The local community is also shaken by this tragic incident, with many expressing shock and disbelief. Residents who have lived in the area for years have never seen anything like it. The lack of lifeguards on duty at the beach adds to their concern.

Eyewitness accounts indicate that the children were playing in a hole previously dug by a man, just 30 minutes before the accident occurred. This has prompted theories about the safety of sand holes and the need for increased beach patrols.

The American Lifeguard Association has issued a warning about the dangers of sand holes and is advocating for increased beach patrols in areas known for sand digging. Bernard J. Fisher II, the association’s director of health and safety, emphasizes the importance of working together to keep our beaches safe and prevent future tragedies.

It is deeply tragic that innocent children engaged in harmless play were met with such a horrifying outcome. Let us share this story and spread some love to the grieving family as they navigate through this unimaginable loss.