Rescue crews found the bodies of two young children Monday morning after the kids were killed Sunday night when a wall of dirt collapsed on them at a home construction site in Lincoln County, N.C.
The kids — a 6-year-old girl and a 7-year-old boy who neighbors said were cousins — were reportedly playing around an excavated basement under construction near their grandparents' home when one of the walls collapsed, trapping them.
Aerial video from an NBC Charlotte helicopter showed a dirt pit roughly 20-30 feet deep with one side caved in.
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The father of one of the children, Jordan Caldwell, called 911 late Sunday afternoon after he saw the wall collapse on the children, according to Lincoln County Emergency Management officials. Fire and rescue crews rushed to the scene and immediately began digging.
"We worked as if they were alive," Dion Burleson, public information officer of Lincoln County Emergency Management, told the Charlotte Observer, but at 9:30 p.m. he announced that the rescue had turned into a recovery operation.
Neighbors and family members stood by watching until late Sunday night. Neighbor Sybil Johnson said she was there for the first two hours with one of the victim's brother and sister.
"They kept saying, 'They've been down there too long without air' — that's what the kids were saying up here, and I just told them God would take care of them," Johnson told NBC Charlotte.
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The scene was emotional for everyone, including the recovery workers.
"There are calls at times like this happen where we are not able to make a difference because it's outside of our realm," Burleson told NBC Charlotte. "This is one of those cases, and it's devastating to not only to the family, but each and every one of the responders that is out here."
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