Two children went missing after a dirt wall fell over them near a construction site in North Carolina over the weekend. This morning we have closure on those two kids, a 6-year-old girl and a 7-year-old boy. But it's a tragic kind of closure. After a frantic search through the night, the children's bodies were recovered from a dirt pit about 24 feet deep.
Sunday afternoon a man who had been digging the hole with a backhoe called 911 to report the collapse. It happened while the children were at the bottom of the 20-feet-wide pit, retrieving a child-sized pick axe. The boy was his son, and the girl his neice.
According to neighbors' reports, the cousins often played in the pit while the boy's father was working. The father of the children's babysitter had warned his daughter to avoid the area. "I told Chelsea not to go in. It was dangerous. There was nothing to reinforce those walls." I wonder if Chelsea's father ever thought to warn the dead boy's father about the dangers, as well?
This looks like a tragic parenting fail. No one wants to pile on blame and harsh judgment on these kids' parents, who are no doubt grieving over this terrible loss. But you just can't help wondering why these kids were allowed to play in a construction area. Even then, why not at least add support to the dirt walls? The man responsible for this tragedy must not have realized how dangerous the situation really was. That's all I can think.
Terrible, random accidents kill children all the time. But when children die from a preventable accident, it doubles the tragedy. For the rest of their lives, those parents will be replaying the scenes from this weekend over and over again in their minds. They will desperately wish they'd never allowed their kids anywhere near the site. I hope the people around them treat them with compassion -- and I hope other parents pay attention and learn something.
Would you have known a dirt pit can collapse, or would you have thought it was safe, too?
Image via ABC News