The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office has released the names of two children who died after being buried alive by a dirt wall Sunday evening at a construction site on the county’s eastern end.
Fire officials said more than 20-feet of dirt collapsed on the children, ages 6 and 7, who had been playing in a large pit in a Stanley neighborhood where construction crews were building a home.
James Levi Caldwell, of the 5800 block of Cedarbrook Court in Stanley, and Chloe Jade Arwood, of the 600 block of Westway Drive in Gastonia, were recovered from the site at 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. Monday.
Area fire departments and rescue crews from multiple counties worked through the night in search of the children’s bodies.
Following the 911 call just before 6 p.m. Sunday, made by one of the children’s fathers, first responders immediately launched an effort to rescue the victims, deputies said.
Roughly three-and-half hours later, the event turned into a recovery mission.
The one father had been working at the site and witnessed the tragic incident, the release said.
Sheriff David Carpenter told the Times-News Monday that the children had ventured down into the large hole, estimated to be 24-foot deep, 20-foot wide and 24-foot long, to retrieve a small pick or shovel.
Sheriff’s Office authorities are continuing to investigate the fatal incident and said they will hand the information over to the local District Attorney’s Office, who will decide if charges need to be filed in the case.