A five-year-old girl has been crushed to death in an horrific accident after the heavy memorial stone she was playing on with her sister fell on her.
Police say 5-year-old Bella Bennett and her 8-year-old sister were playing on the stone monument at the Lee Street Resource Centre in Blackshear, Georgia on the evening of Tuesday, August 31. When the older girl jumped off the memorial, it toppled onto Bella.
Her father and another bystander tried to lift the massive 300-pound stone but in the end it took three adults to life it, by which time it was too late.
"It was on top of the little girl. It was covering half of her body, her head, her shoulders," a witness told local news site News4Jax.
"She was pinned in, and her dad couldn’t get her out," he added.
"I tried to lift it up, so he could pull her out. We weren’t successful."
Another witness said Bella's uncle held the girl's hand until help arrived. She was rushed to a nearby hospital before then being airlifted to Wolfson Children’s Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida.
Sadly, her injuries were too severe doctors there pronounced her dead later that night.
The monument was erected in 1989. According to pictures from the scene, one of the metal bolts holding it upright appeared to have been removed.
Bella had recently started at Blackshear Elementary. Mandy Williams, the assistant headteacher says that she loved animals, particularly horses, but most of all, she enjoyed playing with her older sister.
"That was one of her favourite things to do," she said.
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She added: "We’re family. Our school is a family and the Pierce County nation is hurting right now.
"Pray for their family. Right now, that’s what they need the most is your prayers."
Locals gathered with Bella’s family and religious leaders at the scene of the tragedy and one mourner was heard crying: "This community needs you, oh Lord… we need you, Lord, like we’ve never needed you before."
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