Family Speaks After 7 Year Olds Tragic Accident

The parents of 7-year-old Sloan Mattingly, who tragically died after getting trapped in a collapsed sand hole on a Florida beach in February, are speaking out in an emotional interview with Good Morning America.

Therese and Jason Mattingly remember their daughter as a “beam of light” and “joy,” who loved unicorns and Taylor Swift. They shared fond memories of her dancing in the living room and her contagious happiness.

Sloan was on a family vacation to Lauderdale-by-the-Sea when the accident occurred. She and her 9-year-old brother Maddox were digging for seashells on the beach when the sand hole they were in suddenly collapsed, burying them both alive. Their parents were only a few feet away and immediately sprung into action, trying to dig them out. But the weight of the sand was too much, and they were unable to save Sloan in time.

The incident left the Mattingly family and the entire beach in a state of shock and horror. People who witnessed the tragedy helped in the rescue efforts, calling 911 and assisting in finding the children in the deep hole. Maddox was pulled out first, and Sloan was rescued after more than 15 minutes. She was unresponsive and rushed to the hospital, where she sadly passed away.

During the emotional interview, the Mattinglys expressed their gratitude to the first responders, hospital staff, and other beachgoers who offered their support and assistance. They also apologized to those who witnessed the tragedy, saying, “You witnessed our horror.”

The family hopes that by sharing Sloan’s story, it will raise awareness about the hidden danger of sand holes on beaches and prevent other families from experiencing a similar tragedy.

The Mattinglys also want to see change in the safety measures at beaches. They believe that warning signs about the dangers of digging deep holes in the sand should be posted, along with information about sinkholes. Experts recommend that any hole dug in the sand should not be deeper than the knee of the shortest person involved. However, this message is not often communicated to beachgoers.

In response to the tragic incident, the town of Lauderdale-by-the-Sea is developing a national safety campaign to be shared with other coastal communities. They also plan to implement a local ordinance banning digging on the beach and finding the best way to honor Sloan’s memory. Mayor Chris Vincent said, “We will share it with as many coastal communities as possible to help prevent another unimaginable tragedy.”

The Mattinglys are also urging people to take action if they see something dangerous on the beach. They believe that with more awareness and vigilance, similar tragedies can be prevented. The community has come together to mourn the loss of Sloan and support the Mattingly family during this difficult time.

The loss of Sloan Mattingly is a heartbreaking reminder of the hidden dangers that can exist on beaches. Her parents’ emotional interview serves as a call to action for authorities and beachgoers to be more aware and take necessary precautions to prevent accidents like this.