Peter Hobart principal: Boys killed in landslide loved learning

Peter Hobart principal: Boys killed in landslide loved learning

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  • Peter Hobart principal: Boys killed in landslide loved learningMore>>

  • School leaders abruptly end news conference on landslide

    School leaders abruptly end news conference on landslide

    Thursday, May 23 2013 10:36 PM EDT2013-05-24 02:36:34 GMT
    A press conference outside Peter Hobart Elementary School held one day after a fatal field trip at Lilydale Regional Park was cut short after reporters asked whether a call about conditions was made.
    A press conference outside Peter Hobart Elementary School held one day after a fatal field trip at Lilydale Regional Park was cut short after reporters asked whether a call about conditions was made.
  • Lilydale landslide: What happened?

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    Thursday, May 23 2013 10:19 PM EDT2013-05-24 02:19:55 GMT
    Photo courtesy of the St. Paul Fire DepartmentPhoto courtesy of the St. Paul Fire Department
    Nearly 50 fourth-grade students were searching for fossils in a popular St. Paul park on Wednesday when the unthinkable happened -- a landslide swept up four children who had no time to react or escape.
    Nearly 50 fourth-grade students were searching for fossils in a popular St. Paul park on Wednesday when the unthinkable happened -- a landslide swept up four children who had no time to react or escape.
  • Lilydale Park landslide: Body of 4th grader found, area of park closed

    Lilydale Park landslide: Body of missing 4th grader found

    Thursday, May 23 2013 6:08 PM EDT2013-05-23 22:08:22 GMT
    A landslide at Lilydale Regional Park in St. Paul took the lives of two fourth-graders and left another two injured, all on a school field trip. The body of the last missing child was found Thursday morning.
    A landslide at Lilydale Regional Park in St. Paul took the lives of two fourth-graders and left another two injured, all on a school field trip. The body of the last missing child was found Thursday morning.
  • Lilydale Park landslide: 4th grader dead, 2 rescued, 1 unaccounted for

    Lilydale Park landslide: 4th grader dead, 2 rescued, 1 unaccounted for

    Thursday, May 23 2013 8:40 AM EDT2013-05-23 12:40:02 GMT
    At least one child is dead after a group of kids on a school field trip ended up trapped under rocks Wednesday afternoon at Lilydale Regional Park in St. Paul.
    At least one child is dead after a group of kids on a school field trip ended up trapped under rocks Wednesday afternoon at Lilydale Regional Park in St. Paul.
  • Memorial grows at Peter Hobart Elementary after fatal field trip

    Memorial grows at Peter Hobart Elementary after fatal field trip

    Wednesday, May 22 2013 11:08 PM EDT2013-05-23 03:08:24 GMT
    Parents at Peter Hobart Elementary School probably thought nothing of signing the permission slip for Wednesday's field trip to Lilydale Regional Park, a popular site for finding fossils.
    Parents at Peter Hobart Elementary School probably thought nothing of signing the permission slip for Wednesday's field trip to Lilydale Regional Park, a popular site for finding fossils.
  • SOIL SCIENCE: What causes landslides?

    SOIL SCIENCE: What causes landslides?

    Friday, May 24 2013 12:18 AM EDT2013-05-24 04:18:37 GMT
    As the investigation continues into the landslide at Lilydale Regional Park in St. Paul, many are wondering how often the ground just gives way in the city and FOX 9 News looked into soil science.
    As the investigation continues into the fatal field trip at Lilydale Regional Park in St. Paul, many are wondering how often the ground just gives way in the city and FOX 9 News looked into the science behind landslides.
ST. LOUIS PARK, Minn. (KMSP) -

Shelley Nielsen, the principal of Peter Hobart Elementary School, described the two boys who were killed in a landslide during a field trip as outstanding students who loved learning and, along with their families, were very engaged at the school.

"They were outstanding students -- love of life, loved learning, very engaged families, very supportive of our school and of our community," Nielsen said. "We are trying to express our heartfelt emotions for them."

The school held a press conference on Thursday afternoon to discuss the fatal field trip to Lilydale Regional Park the day before. Nelson declined to identify the two boys who died when a trail collapsed while they were hunting for fossils, but FOX 9 News confirmed the victims were 10-year-old Mohamed Fofana and 9-year-old Haysem Sani.

Two other students were injured in the slide. One suffered a broken ankle and another, who was buried up to his chest in mud, was seriously injured.

The news conference abruptly ended after questions turned toward whether the school checked with the park on the condition of the trails.

About 49 students fourth-grade students were at the park exploring the trails when the collapse occurred at about 1:15 p.m. The park, which is popular for fossil-hunting field trips, hosted another group of students earlier that morning. The trial is now closed indefinitely.

"My heart does break for them. As a parent, I can't imagine what they're going through," Tami Cabrera said. "When you sign a field trip permission slip and send it off and think they're going to have a great day -- but you never know. In nature, things happen, and you can't control nature and you can't put blame on anybody."

Counselors were available to students and staff on Wednesday, and the kids have been asking a lot of hard questions as they cope with the loss of their classmates. 

A memorial to the victims has been growing throughout the day as students, parents and community members brought flowers, teddy bears and cards to a fence just outside of the school's front doors.

"I prayed all the way here and I left a note and some flowers, and I will pray all the way back home," neighbor Lori Amos told FOX 9.

A memorial fund has also been established at Citizens Independent Bank in St. Louis Park, and a silent auction is being organized for June 1. Items to be sold can be dropped off between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at Muddy Paws Cheesecake, located at 7600 West 27th Street in St. Louis Park.

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