ST. PAUL, Minn. - It did not take long for neighbors in the Lilydale Park neighborhood to know something had gone horribly wrong on Wednesday afternoon.
Rescue crews were going door-to-door looking for shovels to help rescue four 4th grade students from St. Louis Park, who had fallen when the ground beneath them gave way not far from the Mississippi River.
"Oh my gosh, you're heart just goes up in your throat. You're wondering what's going on?" said neighbor Sue Zoccoli.
She said rescue crews came to her door looking for help.
"They grabbed shovels out of the shed and they said that they needed shovels," she said.
Closer to the command post, neighbors had gathered hoping to get any information after hearing that students were trapped in mud and gravel near the Bruce Vento Walkway in the park.
"We all know kids around here, we just don't know who they are," said Denise Trueter.
Neighbors say often times students go on field trips to this area to look for fossils. They say there have been occasions where parts of the ground would move or collapse because of the wet conditions.
John Hanratty with St. Paul Public Works Department came with several shovels ready to help after him and most everyone else in the city was called to assist.
But only so many were allowed down the hill near the scene because conditions were so dangerous. One firefighter said it was "like walking on motor oil" because it was so slippery.
Despite that, crews did successfully rescue two students safely, but ultimately the day ends in tragedy with one student killed and another missing.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the children," said St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman.