Deadly Landslide at Minnesota Park

Rain saturated gravel gave way and spilled onto fourth-graders on field trip

 

 
 
 

STEVE KARNOWSKI, Associated Press | | Thursday, May 23, 2013

GALLERIES

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Minnesota Park Landslide

One child dead, two injured and a fourth is missing during field trip tragedy.
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VIDEOS

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Search Continues for Child in Minnesota Landslide

One child killed, two injured when gravel gives way at popular park.
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AP Update: Authorities in St. Paul say they've recovered the body of a child missing since a rockslide killed a classmate and left two others injured at a park along the Mississippi River.

Assistant Fire Chief Jim Smith tells reporters that crews found the body of the missing child late Thursday morning.

Rain-saturated soil gave way Wednesday afternoon as the boy and other fourth-graders from a St. Louis Park elementary school walked along a path in Lilydale Regional Park. They were on a fossil-hunting field trip.

Another child died in the landslide. Authorities say one child remains in serious condition in a hospital.

EARLIER:

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.

As news of the gravel slide broke, parents gathered at the school, located in a western Minneapolis suburb several miles away, to await their children.

Zaccard said several days of rain had softened the ground at the park, but it and nearby Cherokee Park were open and available to the public Wednesday. Brad Meyer, the city's parks and recreation spokesman, said it's rare to close a park "unless there is a major hazardous condition."

"We didn't have any indication that we should close the park or that it was unsafe," Meyer said.

The area is popular for school field trips because students can hunt for fossils in the soft sandstone cliffs, said Michael Rutzick, who was at the park Wednesday and lives in nearby Mendota Heights.

"It's all sandstone. Sandstone and trees," Rutzick said.

Tammy Olson, who lives two blocks away, was at the scene with her two young nephews Wednesday. She said she never considered the park dangerous.

"I've been here six years, and my husband has been here 23. He said there's never been an issue with accidents down there," Olson said.

A firefighter also was injured by a falling rock but was expected to recover, Zaccard said. Another firefighter suffered a back injury, and both firefighters were back home, the fire department tweeted.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.



Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Search Continues for Child in Minnesota Landslide

Minnesota Park Landslide

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Minnesota Park Landslide

An emergency worker attends to a person on a stretcher who has just been brought out of a landslide area by helicopter on the West Side of St. Paul, Minn. on Wednesday, May 22, 2013. A fourth-grade field trip to Lilydale Regional Park turned deadly Wednesday when gravel saturated by persistent rain gave way, killing at least one child and injuring two others. A fourth child was missing. (AP Photo/The Star Tribune, Jerry Holt)


Gallery 1

Minnesota Park Landslide

A St. Paul fire fighter removes a person from the bluffs of Lilydale Regional Park in St. Paul, Minn. after a rockslide Wednesday, May 22, 2013. A fourth-grade field trip to the 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. (AP Photo/The Star Tribune, Jerry Holt)


Gallery 1

Minnesota Park Landslide

Rescue personnel work near the scene of a rockslide that killed at least one elementary school student on a field trip to Lilydale Regional park, Wednesday, May 22, 2013 in St. Paul, Minn. The landslide 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. (AP Photo/The Star Tribune, Nicole Norfleet)


Gallery 1

Minnesota Park Landslide

A St. Paul fire fighter hangs on a line from a helicopter as he rides with a person being evacuated from Lilydale Regional Park in St. Paul, Minn., Wednesday, May 22, 2013. One child on a school field trip was killed and another remained unaccounted for after a gravel slide Wednesday in a St. Paul park that’s popular with children looking for fossils, authorities said. (AP Photo/The Star Tribune, Jerry Holt)


Gallery 1

Minnesota Park Landslide

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, right, listens as Fire Marshall Steve Zaccard, second from left, updates the media on a rock slide at a Mississippi River park that claimed the life of one child, left two other children injured and one child still missing Wednesday, May 22, 2013, in St. Paul, Minn. The children were part of a fourth-grade field trip. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)


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Minnesota Park Landslide

Rescue personnel gather near an entrance to Lilydale Regional Park above the Mississippi River during a suspension of search efforts to find a fourth child missing after a landslide swept over a group of children on a fourth grade field trip Wednesday, May 22, 2013, in St. Paul, Minn. One other child was killed and two others injured. Dangerous conditions along with rain prompted the search suspension. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)


Gallery 1

Minnesota Park Landslide

An emergency worker attends to a person on a stretcher, being evacuated out of a rockslide site by helicopter, on the West Side of St. Paul, Wednesday, May 22, 2013. One child on a school field trip was killed and another remained missing after a gravel slide Wednesday in a St. Paul park that’s popular with children looking for fossils, authorities said. (AP Photo/The St. Paul Pioneer Press, Scott Takushi)


Gallery 1

Minnesota Park Landslide

Police and fire department officials respond to the scene of a rockslide at Lilydale Regional Park Wednesday, May 22, 2013 in St Paul. Minn. Officials say one child is dead and another is unaccounted for after a gravel slide in the St. Paul park. (AP Photo/Star Tribune, Jerry Holt)


Gallery 1

Minnesota Park Landslide

An emergency worker attends to an adult male on a stretcher who has just been brought out of the rockslide area on the West Side of St. Paul, Wednesday, May 22, 2013. One child on a school field trip was killed and another remained unaccounted after a gravel slide Wednesday in a St. Paul park that’s popular with children looking for fossils, authorities said. (AP Photo/The St. Paul Pioneer Press, Scott Takushi)


Gallery 1

Minnesota Park Landslide

Workers with shovels run to the staging area for a rescue operation underway on the West Side of St. Paul, Minn., Wednesday, May 22, 2013. One child on a school field trip was killed and another remained unaccounted after a gravel slide Wednesday in a St. Paul park that’s popular with children looking for fossils, authorities said. (AP Photo/The St. Paul Pioneer Press, Scott Takushi)



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