Police release 911 transcripts from deadly St. Paul landslide


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.

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