ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A fourth-grade field trip to a Mississippi River park popular with fossil hunters turned deadly Wednesday when gravel saturated by persistent rain gave way, killing one child and injuring two others. A fourth child was missing.
The landslide at Lilydale Regional Park swept over a group of children from Peter Hobart Elementary School in St. Louis Park, burying one to the waist and completely burying another, Fire Marshal Steve Zaccard said.
Another child suffered minor injuries in the landslide, which happened about 1:15 p.m. The three children were taken to Regions Hospital, and one died, Zaccard said. The child with minor injuries was treated and released, and the other child is in serious condition, Zaccard said.
The search proceeded cautiously for the fourth child as light rain fell throughout the afternoon. Zaccard described that search as a recovery effort.
Crews were trying to make the scene safe Wednesday night, using fire hoses to wash away loose dirt before it falls on searchers, Zaccard said. Digging had stopped earlier, and crews were setting up lights and preparing to search into the night, he said.
"Obviously we have a very tragic situation here today," Mayor Chris Coleman said at a news conference hours after the gravel slide.
Police and firefighters dug frantically with shovels and their hands to get to the children, Zaccard said. He estimated it took an hour to rescue a child buried to the waist, and another half-hour to reach the buried child as more workers and equipment were moved in.
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