STANLEY, N.C. (AP) — Authorities on Monday recovered the bodies of two young cousins buried when a wall of dirt fell on them while they were playing in a hole at a home construction site in North Carolina.
The bodies of the 6-year-old girl and 7-year-old boy were pulled from a 24-foot-deep pit in the town of Stanley, outside of Charlotte, said Lincoln County Emergency Services spokesman Dion Burleson.
"We've been working a horrific scene here," Burleson told reporters gathered near the rural site on a two-lane road.
Crews had been searching for the children since Sunday afternoon, when the boy's father called 911 to report the collapse. Officials were on the scene within minutes but couldn't get to the children.
The father had been digging with a backhoe on the site earlier in the day, said County Sheriff David Carpenter. He would not say what was being built or if the man was doing it alone or had professional help.
Burleson described the pit as 20 feet by 20 feet with a sloped entrance leading down to the 24-foot bottom. The children were at the bottom of the pit retrieving a child-sized pickaxe when the walls fell in on them, Carpenter said.
He said his deputies would continue to investigate what happened. Authorities have not released the names of the father or the children.