Published December 27, 2012
Two girls were playing in a newly dug foundation in early December, where a home was going to be built in their Tinley Park subdivision, when they suddenly found themselves buried and unable to move.
"We were just playing with it had no idea anything was going to happen, then it just fell on us," 11-year-old Nicole says, describing the moments just before a wall of mud came crashing down on her. "Sarah says she heard crumbling noise but I can't remember if I heard that or not."
Nicole was with her younger sister and friend, 12-year-old Sarah Miranda, playing in the construction site next door, on Sunday, December 2nd. Then, suddenly the mud caved in, trapping Nicole and Sarah. Luckily, the mud buried Nicole up to her neck.
"There was just mud everywhere, I was buried maybe up to here," Nicole says. "It was like the mud was so tight. I couldn't move anything except for my head."
Sarah, however, was buried from head to toe underneath Nicole. Miraculously, Sarah was surrounded by an air pocket which allowed her to breathe and talk as Nicole's sister ran for help.
"When I fell, my feet were positioned like like that, foot created an air pocket for her to breath because she was right by my foot I think," Nicole explains.
It took rescue workers about 30 minutes to dig the girls out using their hands and shovels. Nicole spent four days in the hospital suffering from a lung contusion and bruises on her neck and back.
She says the "get well" cards written by her teachers and schoolmates had her looking forward to returning to her 6th grade class at Hilda Walker Intermediate. Nicole knows how lucky they were and says it made the holiday season that much more meaningful this year.
"It could have been a lot worse, if it weren't for my foot wasn't positioned that way then worse things would have happened," Nicole says, reflecting back.