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LILYDALE LANDSLIDE: Gov. Dayton gives heartfelt honor

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Mohamed Fofana (left) and Haysem Sani (right) Mohamed Fofana (left) and Haysem Sani (right)
A crowd gathers to honor the victims at the funeral A crowd gathers to honor the victims at the funeral
Gov. Mark Dayton visits Peter Hobart Elementary for a memorial assembly. Photo by Scott Wasserman / FOX 9 News. Gov. Mark Dayton visits Peter Hobart Elementary for a memorial assembly. Photo by Scott Wasserman / FOX 9 News.
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    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
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    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.
ST. LOUIS PARK, Minn. (KMSP) -

Funerals were held Friday afternoon for Mohamed Fofana and Haysem Sani, the two fourth-grade students who died in Wednesday's landslide at Lilydale Regional Park in St. Paul.

The boys were with a group of about 50 students on a fossil-hunting field trip from Peter Hobart Elementary in St. Louis Park.

While exploring the park, a gravel slide swept up four children. After an hour of searching through the muddy soil, rescue crews found 9-year-old Haysem Sani's body Wednesday evening. Thursday morning, crews recovered the body of 10-year-old Mohamed Fofana, who had been unaccounted for immediately following the disaster. He was found about four feet away from Sani.

Two other students, Lucas Lee and Devin Meldahl, were injured and are currently recovering.


'THEIR SPIRIT WILL CARRY ON THROUGH YOU'


Friday morning, Gov. Mark Dayton visited the school to offer his condolences at a memorial assembly.

"I wish I could say something that would make you feel better. I wish I could say something that could explain to you why this terrible thing happened. I can't," Dayton said. "It takes courage to go through something like this. Their spirit will carry on through you."


HOW YOU CAN HELP

A fund for the students and families impacted by this tragedy has been established at Citizens Independent Bank, St. Louis Park. Donations can be sent to:

Peter Hobart Student Fund
c/o Citizens Independent Bank
5000 West 36th Street
St. Louis Park, MN 55416

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