Lilydale Park landslide: Body of missing 4th grader found - KMSP-TV

Lilydale Park landslide: Body of 4th grader found, area of park closed

Posted: Updated:
Mohamed Fofana Mohamed Fofana
Haysem Sani Haysem Sani
  • Lilydale Park landslide: Body of missing 4th grader foundMore>>

  • School leaders abruptly end news conference on landslide

    School leaders abruptly end news conference on landslide

    Thursday, May 23 2013 10:36 PM EDT2013-05-24 02:36:34 GMT
    A press conference outside Peter Hobart Elementary School held one day after a fatal field trip at Lilydale Regional Park was cut short after reporters asked whether a call about conditions was made.
    A press conference outside Peter Hobart Elementary School held one day after a fatal field trip at Lilydale Regional Park was cut short after reporters asked whether a call about conditions was made.
  • Lilydale landslide: What happened?

    Lilydale landslide: What happened?

    Thursday, May 23 2013 10:19 PM EDT2013-05-24 02:19:55 GMT
    Photo courtesy of the St. Paul Fire DepartmentPhoto courtesy of the St. Paul Fire Department
    Nearly 50 fourth-grade students were searching for fossils in a popular St. Paul park on Wednesday when the unthinkable happened -- a landslide swept up four children who had no time to react or escape.
    Nearly 50 fourth-grade students were searching for fossils in a popular St. Paul park on Wednesday when the unthinkable happened -- a landslide swept up four children who had no time to react or escape.
  • Peter Hobart principal: Boys killed in landslide loved learning

    Peter Hobart principal: Boys killed in landslide loved learning

    Thursday, May 23 2013 7:04 PM EDT2013-05-23 23:04:55 GMT
    Shelley Nielsen, the principal of Peter Hobart Elementary School, described the two boys who were killed in a landslide during a field trip as outstanding students who loved learning and were engaged.
    Shelley Nielsen, the principal of Peter Hobart Elementary School, described the two boys who were killed in a landslide during a field trip as outstanding students who loved learning, their families and were very engaged at the school.
  • Memorial grows at Peter Hobart Elementary after fatal field trip

    Memorial grows at Peter Hobart Elementary after fatal field trip

    Wednesday, May 22 2013 11:08 PM EDT2013-05-23 03:08:24 GMT
    Parents at Peter Hobart Elementary School probably thought nothing of signing the permission slip for Wednesday's field trip to Lilydale Regional Park, a popular site for finding fossils.
    Parents at Peter Hobart Elementary School probably thought nothing of signing the permission slip for Wednesday's field trip to Lilydale Regional Park, a popular site for finding fossils.
  • SOIL SCIENCE: What causes landslides?

    SOIL SCIENCE: What causes landslides?

    Friday, May 24 2013 12:18 AM EDT2013-05-24 04:18:37 GMT
    As the investigation continues into the landslide at Lilydale Regional Park in St. Paul, many are wondering how often the ground just gives way in the city and FOX 9 News looked into soil science.
    As the investigation continues into the fatal field trip at Lilydale Regional Park in St. Paul, many are wondering how often the ground just gives way in the city and FOX 9 News looked into the science behind landslides.
ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

A landslide at Lilydale Regional Park in St. Paul took the lives of two fourth-graders and left another two injured, all on a school field trip. The body of the last missing child was found Thursday morning.

Thursday's search began around 10 a.m. and the body of 10-year-old Mohamed Fofana was found about an hour later. Nine-year-old Haysem Sani was also killed in the landslide. Family members of Mohamed Fofana were standing by as the search was underway Thursday morning.

His uncle, Mohamed Bah, told FOX 9 that his family prayed all night, hoping for a miracle.

"He's a very, very good boy," Bah said. "We hope that he will come out of that place alive."

He was at home watching television when footage from St. Paul prompted his family to wonder what was going on. He then received a text message saying his nephew was one of the children involved in the disaster.

"We are Muslims. We believe that everything happens the way God wants it to happen and whatever the outcome may be, we accept it, but we're hoping that things will be good," Bah said.

Geologists from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources were brought in assess the search area; its terrain caused a host of issues for the searchers.

"The problem here is the soil," St. Paul Fire Marshal Steve Zaccard said. "It's wet and it's sandy and it's got shale and rock, and that's the huge risk to the rescuers -- the condition of the soil around the collapse site."

Zaccard described the landside area as a 30- to 40-foot diameter horseshoe-shape off the bottom of a cliff. The edges of the area that collapsed have fallen in, meaning rescuers were left to dig deep.

The two groups of fourth-grade students, an estimated 49 in all, were exploring the park as part of field trip for fossils on Wednesday. The students from Peter Hobart Elementary School in St. Louis Park, Minn., were walking the trails and searching for fossils when the hillside above them gave way, officials said.

After what St. Paul mayor Chris Coleman called "a tragic day for St. Paul," the area of the park where the children were killed will be closed indefinitely. In addition, no permits will be issued for fossil hunting.

Emergency crews were digging for eight hours Wednesday in waist-deep mud and gravel trying to rescue those caught and buried in this landslide. Upon rescue, one student left with a fractured ankle and another with serious injuries. Zaccard said it took about an hour to rescue one child buried to the waist. One child was released from the hospital on Wednesday while the other remains in serious condition at Regions Hospital.

Two St. Paul firefighters were injured during the search; one suffered a head injury after a rock hit him while he was digging, and the other suffered a back injury. Both are now home and expected to recover.

"We feel we were able to save the kids that could be saved," Zaccard said.

Kids will return to class at Peter Hobart Elementary with counselors on hand to help students and staff grapple with the loss of their classmates.

FOX 9's Rob Olson is at the scene and will provide updates. Follow him on Twitter @RobOlsonFOX9

Powered by WorldNow

KMSP-TV
11358 Viking Drive
Eden Prairie, MN 55344

Phone: (952) 944-9999
Fax: (952) 942-0455

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices