Skip to main content

Police release 911 transcripts from deadly St. Paul landslide

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

Transcripts of emergency calls from Lilydale Regional Park on May 21 describe what happened immediately after a bluff gave way, trapping four children on a field trip. Two boys did not survive.

"We heard a loud noise. I was at the top of the hill but I'm afraid if something came down, the noise of the cliff, I can't even tell you what I'm thinking is happening," one caller told dispatchers in disbelief.

"We've fallen down an avalanche, and we're, we need an ambulance," a female caller said. "There was an avalanche, an avalanche of sand that buried some students."

Two classes of about 50 fourth-graders from Peter Hobart Elementary in St. Louis Park were fossil hunting in the park when the ground collapsed.

The transcripts describe how difficult it was for six adult chaperones to describe the hilly area to dispatchers while coordinating dozens of kids at risk of falling into a hole that swallowed other students.

"Devon, we're digging you out, we're digging you out," the woman said. "I got you Devon, you're fine, you're fine."

Devon Meldahl was one of the students that suffered injuries from the landslide, according to the Star Tribune.

After asking several people on scene where the group was located, the chaperone eventually climbed a hill to Cherokee Park to try and flag down first responders.

"I can hear them coming. Oh my God. I think they are going away from where, where I am," she said. "I can hear sirens everywhere but I don't see anybody."

Firefighters, paramedics and police officers eventually arrived, hiking through the muddy area about a quarter mile from the road. Once on scene, they began digging by hand for the children.

Crews managed to pull out two students, including 9-year-old Haysem Sani, who were stuck under a tremendous amount of weight. Devon, Haysem and another student, Lucas Lee, were transported to the hospital, where Haysem was pronounced dead.

A fourth child remained missing when dangerous conditions forced the fire department to call off the search. Crews returned to the scene the following morning and recovered the body of 10-year-old Mohamed Fofana.

The city has indefinitely closed the area of the park where the landslide occured while a civil engineering firm investigates the cause.

Next Up

Joseph_P._Kennedy,_Sr_optimized

Foundation, the building, the win

Identifying Value Plus Catalysts helps your financial strategy and foundation

boating minnesota lake

25-year-old Hopkins man drowns after falling off boat

The man reportedly fell from the boat while fishing with friends.

mayor frey city minneapolis live stream march 14 2022

What's in Mayor Jacob Frey's budget proposal?

Here's a breakdown of what the Minneapolis mayor is focusing on in 2023-24.

Low, Mimi Parker

Low cancels Europe shows due to Mimi Parker's cancer treatment

The Duluth band says the decision follows 'recent changes' in Parker's treatment.

Screen Shot 2022-08-15 at 11.09.39 AM

Wisconsin man admits to 1992 revenge killings 15 years after boyhood tragedy

The 52-year-old man is in custody 30 years after the 1992 double murder.

Chapel of Love at Mall of America

Chapel of Love set to close at Mall of America after nearly 30 years

The owner cited retirement as the reason for the closure.

Minneapolis police

Man stabbed to death in his Minneapolis home identified

The victim's wife had an order of protection out against the suspect.

Related

911 transcripts from Minneapolis workplace shooting released

Transcripts of 911 calls made at the time of the deadly shooting at Accent Signage Systems in Minneapolis Sept. 27 were released Tuesday. Seven people were killed in the mass shooting including the gunman Andrew Engeldinger, an employee terminated from the company the day he opened fire. The latest fatality was Eric Rivers, a production manager at Accent, who was removed from life support last week