Family of girl who died after getting buried in sand at Florida beach speaks out - Hindustan Times
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Family of girl, 7, who died after getting buried in sand at Florida beach reveals heartbreaking details: ‘She tried…’

BySumanti Sen
Feb 26, 2024 12:17 PM IST

Sloan Mattingly dug a 5 to 6-foot-deep hole at a beach at Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, which caved in on her, burying her completely

Loved ones of Sloan Mattingly, a seven-year-old girl who died after a hole she dug on a popular Florida beach collapsed, have spoken up. The girl dug a 5 to 6-foot-deep hole at a beach at Lauderdale-by-the-Sea in Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday afternoon, February 20. According to NBC Miami, it caved in on her, burying her completely. The family was on a vacation at the time.

Sloan Mattingly died in an accident at a beach at Lauderdale-by-the-Sea in Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday afternoon, February 20 (GoFundMe)
Sloan Mattingly died in an accident at a beach at Lauderdale-by-the-Sea in Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday afternoon, February 20 (GoFundMe)

Mattingly’s loved ones have now revealed heartbreaking details about the case, calling it a “freak accident.” Her mother said the incident “forever changed” their lives. 

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Mattingly was digging the hole with her older brother Maddox. The child’s uncle, Chris Sloan, told KFOR that she tried “grab up” at her 9-year-old brother’s leg “to get up out of the sand,” but “eventually he couldn’t feel her moving anymore.” “She was non-responsive at the scene is what we know,” the uncle said.

‘They were having a good time’

Chris, a resident of Oklahoma, said that his brother broke the news to him. “Once we all got on the line, my brother, David, said, ‘Ok. What I have to tell you is going to be the worst news of your entire life.’ And it was. He said that she had passed away, that Sloanie had passed away,” Chris said. 

“Later we found out that after the sand had caved, she kept trying to grab up Maddox’s leg to get up out of the sand, and eventually he couldn’t feel her moving anymore. The sand had been up to his chest, and he was screaming for help, and a lot of people did come and help,” he added. 

Moddox survived after his father pulled him out. “They were having a good time,” Chris said. “They were staying at an Airbnb. Everybody was really excited to actually see them out there.” 

Chris remembered Mattingly as someone who was “always happy.” “She was really fun to be around,” he said. “She had a lot of energy and just totally innocent, and that’s what hurts the most in all this.”

In a GoFundMe launched for the child, Mattingly’s mother said, "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.”

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