Cherokee Park mudslide kills two St. Louis Park 4th graders [UPDATES]

McCoy's caption to this photo: "Rescue crews have loaded the child's body into truck and are removing him from Lilydale Park."
McCoy's caption to this photo: "Rescue crews have loaded the child's body into truck and are removing him from Lilydale Park."

-- Original post from afternoon of May 22; updates at bottom --

One 4th grade student at St. Louis Park's Peter Hobart Elementary School is dead, one remains missing, and two others were taken to the hospital following a mudslide earlier today at Cherokee Park in St. Paul.

According to the Pioneer Press, students were reportedly at the park for a field trip when "a big pile of sand" gave way underneath their feet, leaving one student buried and another half-buried. The park received heavy rain this week.

The area where the mudslide occurred is atop bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River across from downtown St. Paul, MPR reports.

A firefighter was also reportedly injured when a rock fell on his head during the rescue effort.

:::: UPDATES ::::

A hearse has arrived at the scene.

KSTP reports that one child remains missing as of 4 p.m. this afternoon.

During a news conference held just after 4 p.m., St. Paul Fire Department spokesman Steve Zaccard confirmed that there are three confirmed victims of today's mudslide and likely a fourth.

Zaccard said three children were rescued from the mudslide and transported to Regions Hospital, and one died. He offered no update on the condition of the two children who were taken to the hospital, but Zaccard did say the firefighter who was injured during the rescue effort is expected to survive.

A fourth child remains unaccounted for and may still be buried somewhere in the park.

Zaccard said children were walking on a hillside during a fossil hunt when water-softened ground gave way. The kids "fell into a hole and earth fell on top of them."

KARE's John Croman shared this photo from this afternoon's news conference:

:::: MAY 23 UPDATE ::::

This morning, authorities found the body of the other 4th grader who remained missing following yesterday's incident, meaning the death doll has risen to two. Family members identified the student found today as Mohamed Fofana.

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at [email protected]

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