A 6-year-old girl and 7-year-old boy are missing and presumed dead after becoming trapped on a building site in Lincoln County, North Carolina.
On Sunday, April 7, the children were playing on the basement level of a home that was under construction and were blocked in.
Neighbors in Lucia, near Charlotte describe that one of the walls collapsed in the basement, trapping the children.
"The kids were down there playing and the walls caved in," Sybil Johnson says.
WCNC details that their father called emergency crews to the Cedarbrook Court residence at around 6 p.m. He arrived as soon as the crash took place, having been near the location.
Four hours of digging followed as shovels and automated digging equipment were employed. Helicopter cams captured footage of a 20 – 30 feet (6 – 9 meters) deep pit on the site, revealing that one of the walls of the facility has collapsed.
Lincoln County Emergency Management rep Dion Burleson mentions that authorities have given up finding the kids alive, suggesting that the mission will now be classified as a recovery effort.
"This is now a recovery operation for these two children," Burleson states.
"They kept saying, 'They've been down there too long without air' -- that's what the kids were saying up here, and I just told them God would take care of them," Johnson recalls.
Sybil and Kevin Johnson accompanied search crews during the first hours of the operation, comforting the children's family members.
"There are calls at times like this happen where we are not able to make a difference because it's outside of our realm.
"This is one of those cases, and it's devastating to not only to the family, but each and every one of the responders that is out here," Burleson adds.
[Update, April 9 2013]: The two children sought by rescuers have been found dead in the early hours of the morning on Monday.