Back to school for boy buried alive by Lilydale landslide

9:34 AM, Sep 6, 2013   |    comments
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ST. LOUIS PARK, Minn. - For the families of the children killed and injured in the Lilydale Park landslide, the two reports released by the city Thursday, addressing the cause of the landslide and what city workers knew about park erosion, offer little comfort.

After the reports were released, KARE 11 spoke again with the little boy who was buried alive and survived, as well as his mother, who hopes this never happens to anyone again.

Ten-year-old Devin Meldahl went back to school this week. This year, he is a 5th grader at Peter Hobart Elementary School in St. Louis Park.

"I was waiting to go to school...meeting new friends and meeting new people," says Devin.

But sending Devin back to school was not so easy for his mother Danielle. One of the last times she did that, Devin didn't come home.

"I tell him every morning I love you and hugs and kisses," says Danielle.

It has been a long journey since May 22nd and the landslide that killed two of Devin's schoolmates, Mohamed Fofana and Haysem Sani. They were all hunting for fossils at Lilydale Park when the bluff gave way and buried them. Devin was covered in mud, dirt and rocks over his head. It took his teachers and rescue workers more than an hour to get him out.

"It's very overwhelming. The after effects of this have been a lot to take in," says Danielle.

Today, Devin is still healing. His broken ankle isn't quite right yet, but he has been able to do some of the things he loves like biking and swimming.

It's been a long recovery process, one Danielle hoped her son would never have to face. She still wishes the school had told parents more about the Lilydale field trip and the dangers the children might face there.

She also now wishes the city had done the same. Danielle says if city workers knew about erosion problems and a landslide in the same area two years earlier, they should have done more to protect visitors.

"I was a little upset to hear that they knew about the erosion and to know about all the kids that do go down there," she says.

Danielle counts her blessings these days and hopes no parent ever goes through what she did.

"It never crossed my mind that he would get hurt or two kids would have lost their lives because of what happened."

KARE 11 also reached out to Lancine Fofana, the father of Mohamed Fofana who was killed in the Lilydale landslide.

Mohamed was also a 4th grader at Peter Hobart School. He says he feels as if the city tried to defend itself and perhaps avoid taking responsibility.

You can also read about Thursday's developments on mprnews.org.

(Copyright 2013 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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