ST. PAUL, Minn. - Authoritieshave suspended the search for a missing child after a gravel slide at Lilydale Park in St. Paul on Wednesday afternoon. The search will be resumed on Thursday morning.
Four children were swept away when the ground beneath them sunk into a "hole." One child was killed, twoothers were rescued and taken to Regions Hospital and a fourth remained unaccounted for, officials said.
The search forthe fourth victimwas hindered by weather conditions.
"Water is flowing right into the hole making it extremely dangerous for rescuers to work anymore," said Steve Zaccard, of the St. Paul Fire Department. "We are working with our partners in Parks and Public Works to make the scene safe for what's become a recovery effort for what might be a fourth victim."
Zaccard said that they have brought in wood to try to keep the scene from collapsing again. Flood lights were also been brought in. Search dogs were on the scene at about 10 p.m. andbut the dogsdid not find anything.
The Minnesota Structural Collapse Team was brought in to assist in the search. The team is made up of responders who are specifically trained in thistype of a recovery effort.
First responderswere initially digging by hand to reach victims, whoare 4th grade studentsfrom St. Louis Park's Peter Hobart Elementary School.
"It appears they were walking along and after the rain we had, the ground was so soft that it gave way," said Zaccard."They fell into the hole and the earth came on top of them."
The students were on a field trip collecting fossils in the fossil yard at the time of the incident.
Zaccard said that one child suffered minor injuries and that two others were trapped, one partially and one completely.
One of the children trapped wasfreed shortly before 2 p.m. That child appeared to bea young girl who was conscious and being treated by medics, according to KARE 11 reporter Blake McCoy.
Two firefighters were alsoinjured in the search.Both were struck by falling rocks. One was hit in the head and the other was hit in the back, but both are resting at home, fire officials said.
"Thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the children and to our first responders who continue to deal with the situation as it develops," said St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman.
Public works officials say the park's trails and caves are popular with school field trips.
LilydalePark is located between Cherokee Avenue and Lilydale Road.