Cherokee Park mudslide kills two St. Louis Park 4th graders [UPDATES]

Categories: Tragedy
cherokeepark.jpg
Blake McCoy on Twitter
McCoy's caption to this photo: "Rescue crews have loaded the child's body into truck and are removing him from Lilydale Park."
-- Original post from afternoon of May 22; updates at bottom --

One 4th grade student at St. Louis Park's Peter Hobart Elementary School is dead, one remains missing, and two others were taken to the hospital following a mudslide earlier today at Cherokee Park in St. Paul.

According to the Pioneer Press, students were reportedly at the park for a field trip when "a big pile of sand" gave way underneath their feet, leaving one student buried and another half-buried. The park received heavy rain this week.

The area where the mudslide occurred is atop bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River across from downtown St. Paul, MPR reports.

A firefighter was also reportedly injured when a rock fell on his head during the rescue effort.

:::: UPDATES ::::

A hearse has arrived at the scene. KSTP reports that one child remains missing as of 4 p.m. this afternoon.

During a news conference held just after 4 p.m., St. Paul Fire Department spokesman Steve Zaccard confirmed that there are three confirmed victims of today's mudslide and likely a fourth.

Zaccard said three children were rescued from the mudslide and transported to Regions Hospital, and one died. He offered no update on the condition of the two children who were taken to the hospital, but Zaccard did say the firefighter who was injured during the rescue effort is expected to survive.

A fourth child remains unaccounted for and may still be buried somewhere in the park.

Zaccard said children were walking on a hillside during a fossil hunt when water-softened ground gave way. The kids "fell into a hole and earth fell on top of them."

KARE's John Croman shared this photo from this afternoon's news conference:
:::: MAY 23 UPDATE ::::

This morning, authorities found the body of the other 4th grader who remained missing following yesterday's incident, meaning the death doll has risen to two. Family members identified the student found today as Mohamed Fofana.

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at arupar@citypages.com.



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18 comments
Linda Hallen
Linda Hallen

I don't think it means people "like" the very sad news--it's just a way of acknowledging that you also care.

Teresa Williams
Teresa Williams

How devastating to send your child to school for a "fun" field trip and the unthinkable happens. Prayers to the families involved. So very sad. :-(

Monica Sutton
Monica Sutton

The PTA is having a silent auction 6/1 to benefit these families-donations are needed. Message me for more details.

dougspike
dougspike

A photo of a hearse? How insensitive! I hope those whose children were involved in this horrible tragedy don't see this.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers

My terrible. Hey, I thought you'd found a story about around here, near Cherokee NC. We've had a rash of slides here too.

mariecurie
mariecurie

This is very sad, but I'm also a little angry.  Someone should have realized that with all the rain we've been getting, this trip should have been canceled.  Soil saturation is a major cause of rock & mud slides.  A science teacher would have learned about this in their first geology course in college.  I can't imagine what these little kiddos went through today and my heart goes out to those involved.

grindersin
grindersin

this park is not too far from my house and ive been wondering all day as to the goings on. now i know and am saddened.

Heather Jo
Heather Jo

How awful for the family and students. Even more terrible to see a picture of his body being loaded into the truck.

hindsight
hindsight

@mariecurie Science teacher =/= geology expert. Sometimes bad things happen and it's nobody's fault. Not all tragedies can be foreseen.

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