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Experts say lifeguards could have prevented 7-year-old’s death on beach
Featured Image Credit: CBS News / GoFundMe

Experts say lifeguards could have prevented 7-year-old’s death on beach

Ocean rescue experts are claiming Sloan Mattingly's life could have been saved.

Experts are claiming that lifeguards could have prevented the tragic death of a seven-year-old girl on a Florida beach.

Earlier this week, Sloan Mattingly died at Lauderdale-by-the-Sea beach in the Sunshine State after becoming trapped in a hole in the sand.

Like most kids that age, Sloan was digging a hole at the beach before it collapsed, leaving Sloan and her brother Maddox, nine, trapped.

Maddox was buried up to his chest, but Sloan was buried beneath the sand.

Around 20 beachgoers are said to have ran to help the trapped girl, while others quickly called 911 for assistance.

The fire department reached the beach at around 3pm local time, subsequently using support boards to try and prevent more sand from collapsing into the hole, as well as using shovels to attempt to get the children to safety.

Emergency services were frantically digging for around 20 minutes and were able to get the young girl out of the sand.

Sloan Mattingly lost her life this week.

Sloan was transported to the nearest hospital, where she was later pronounced dead. Maddox remains in hospital.

"A freak accident happened yesterday while we are here on vacation and it took away our greatest 7.5 years," her mother Therese told CBS News in a statement.

"Don't tell us you're sorry for our loss... don't do that to us. We experienced the purest human being ever and we are forever changed by her.

"We love you beyond any stretch of the imagination. Our sweet Sloan. What we would give."

Ocean rescue experts have since said that Sloan's death could have been prevented if the beach was staffed with lifeguards.

Lifeguards in nearby coastal towns are required to tell visitors to the beach about the dangers of digging in the sand.

They are also instructed to stop people from digging any deeper than 2 feet, or around knee height.

The children reportedly dug a hole measuring about five to six feet deep.

However, a Pompano Beach spokesperson has since confirmed that Lauderdale-by-the-Sea has no lifeguards in operation.

Speaking of that, Jim McCrady, Vice President and Lifesaving Academies director of the US Lifesaving Association Southeast Region, said: "This doesn’t happen on guarded beaches.

"We do that all day long. We spot hazards and then we mitigate the dangers involved in those hazards.

"This is a daily thing that happens on a guarded beach when someone starts to dig a hole. We not only tell the person not to dig a deep hole, but to fill it in before they leave."

Since the tragedy, heartbreaking 911 audio has revealed beachgoers' desperate attempts to free Sloan.

If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence, contact The Compassionate Friends on (877) 969-0010.

Topics: US News, News