Lilydale landslide: What happened? - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

Lilydale landslide: What happened?

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Photo courtesy of the St. Paul Fire Department Photo courtesy of the St. Paul Fire Department
  • Lilydale landslide: What happened?More>>

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

    Lilydale Park landslide: Body of missing 4th grader found

    Thursday, May 23 2013 6:08 PM EDT2013-05-23 22:08:22 GMT
    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.
    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.
  • Lilydale Park landslide: 4th grader dead, 2 rescued, 1 unaccounted for

    Lilydale Park landslide: 4th grader dead, 2 rescued, 1 unaccounted for

    Thursday, May 23 2013 8:40 AM EDT2013-05-23 12:40:02 GMT
    At least one child is dead after a group of kids on a school field trip ended up trapped under rocks Wednesday afternoon at Lilydale Regional Park in St. Paul.
    At least one child is dead after a group of kids on a school field trip ended up trapped under rocks Wednesday afternoon at Lilydale Regional Park in St. Paul.
  • 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) -

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.

Crews raced to the scene and rescued two injured students from Peter Hobart Elementary School from the muddy soil. In the process, they found 9-year-old Hasem Sani's body. He had been buried for more than an hour.

On Thursday morning, crews recovered the body of 10-year-old Mohamed Fofana, who had been unaccounted for immediately following the disaster. They had to call off the search on Wednesday night due to dangerous conditions, but firefighters say he was found about four feet away from Sani.

Later in the afternoon on Thursday, the St. Paul Fire Department released a picture of the collapse area where rescuers found Fofana under 4-5 feet of dirt, sand and rocks.

Family members told FOX 9 News Fofana was excited about going to the park to hunt "for dinosaurs," and they say he also asked his mother for extra affection the night before and asked her to prepare his breakfast on that special day.

"When you think of the joy those children were experiencing on a cold and rainy day exploring, fossil hunting -- and the quickness that tragedy struck, it is unspeakable in its nature," said St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman.

City officials say the fossil yard is a popular destination for school trips, with the city issuing more than 400 permits a year so that student groups can explore the 384-acre park.

Since the landslide, the city's parks department closed the trails near the fossil bed. The area will remain closed indefinitely while they work to figure out what caused the tragedy.

"Prior to the issue yesterday, there was no indication that there was any danger," Mike Hahm said. "This area hadn't been closed for weather previously."

When asked whether school officials had called about conditions at the park prior to the field trip, Principal Shelley Nielsen refused to answer and promptly ended a news conference on Thursday afternoon.

A copy of the permit contract obtained by FOX 9 News shows the school could have requested a rain date as long as the permit office was notified prior to the end of the reservation time.

The permit also exempts the City of St. Paul from any and all claims that may arise while a park user is on the property, reading in part, "the park user fully acknowledges that some of the conditions and locations within the Lilydale Regional Park area are hazardous to persons or property and park user specifically assumes the liability of the City of St. Paul as such claims or injuries may arise to persons and property due to its unsafe conditions."

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