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Authorities Say Man May Have Been Digging Protective Bunker; Collapse Killed 2 Children


Authorities in North Carolina want to know more about a 24-foot-deep pit that a man had been digging behind his home.

Two young children were killed in that pit yesterday when a wall of dirt fell on them while they were playing. The bodies of 6-year-old Chloe Jade Arwood and 7-year-old James Levi Caldwell were pulled Monday from a 24-foot-deep pit in the town of Stanley, outside of Charlotte.

Sheriff David Carpenter says the girl's father had been digging with a backhoe on the site earlier in the day.

He says he's planning to follow up on neighbors' reports that the man was excavating the pit to build some sort of protective bunker. Carpenter says authorities don't know of any permits that had been issued for the work.

A neighbor says the children often played in the pit when the boy's father was working there. The neighbor says there was no structure to support the tall dirt walls.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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WCNC in Charlotte reports Lincoln County emergency officials said they have recovered the bodies of two children Monday morning buried at a construction site in eastern Lincoln County.

The children, a 6-year-old girl and 7-year-old boy who neighbors said were cousins, were playing around an excavated basement under construction near their grandparents' home when a wall collapsed, trapping them on Sunday.

The home is on Cedarbrook Court in the community of Lucia, between Stanley and Lake Norman.

Aerial video from the NBC Charlotte helicopter showed a pit roughly 20-30 feet deep, with one side caved in.

The wall collapsed around 6 p.m. on Sunday evening. By early Monday morning, emergency workers said their rescue mission became a recovery mission.

The names of the children have not yet been released.


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Fire officials say two young children trapped under dirt at a residential construction site in Lincoln County are not expected to be found alive.

Lincoln County Emergency Services officials say the effort by emergency personnel turned from a rescue to a recovery effort late Sunday night.

The children, a 6-year-old girl and 7-year-old boy who neighbors said were cousins, were playing around an excavated basement under construction near their grandparents' home when a wall collapsed, trapping them.

Emergency personnel from several places, including nearby Charlotte attempted to rescue them.

We'll keep you posted on the recovery effort throughout the morning.


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WCNC reports that several emergency rescue agencies, including Charlotte Fire Department's Urban Search and Rescue team, are on the scene of a construction collapse that has trapped two children under several feet of dirt.

Rescuers received the first 911 call around 6 p.m., said Dion Burleson, PIO for Lincoln County Emergency Management.

Burleson could only describe the location as a residential construction project, and said the children are trapped below-grade -- essentially underground.

Neighbors tell NBC Charlotte it was a basement under construction, and a wall collapsed on the children.

Burleson could not provide details about the children, but neighbors said they were cousins -- a boy and a girl, approximately six and eight years old.

Two CFD USAR trucks are on scene, along with three environmental vacuum trucks, and several area search and rescue agencies from Lincoln and Mecklenburg counties.

A CFD truck filled with construction beams also arrived at the scene and left empty.

Burleson said their efforts have concentrated on digging with shovels mostly, but that workers will be there a while -- "all night if necessary."


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