Crews at the hole where the children were buried (WFMY)
CHARLOTTE (USA Today) -- Emergency crews early Monday found the bodies of two young children who were buried by a wall of dirt at a home construction site in rural North Carolina, The Charlotte Observer reported.
The newspaper said Lincoln County crews located the bodies of the 7-year-old boy and 6-year-old girl shortly before daybreak, but were moving cautiously to recover them because of the danger of a new cave-in.
Crews found them buried in the soil from the 25-foot hole that had been dug out by a backhoe in Stanley, N.C.
"These are horrific circumstances," Lincoln County Emergency Services spokesman Dion Burleson told reporters.
The father of one of the children called 911 to report the incident shortly after 5 p.m. Sunday. The children's names have not yet been released.
Neighbors stood by in disbelief as dozens of fire trucks emergency workers spent hours trying to get to the children.
"We worked as if they were alive," Lincoln County Emergency Services public information officer Dion Burleson told The Observer Sunday evening. "Times like these are very difficult. It's devastating for the family and each and every responder."
Crews at the Stanley neighborhood placed a safety barrier around the pit and used shovels and climbing gear to try and reach the children, trapped about 20 feet underground, according to WSOC-TV.
Some 65 emergency personnel from several places, including nearby Charlotte, were on the scene.
A neighbor told The Observer that a family member building a new home at the site had been digging with a backhoe there earlier in the day. The children were trapped in the hole later when part of it caved in.
Burleson said an investigation was under way. He said he didn't have information on construction permits at the site.
"This is a tragic night in Denver," Burleson said.