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2 girls rescued from muddy construction trench

Published: Monday, Dec. 3, 2012 9:42 a.m. CST

(MCT) — Tinley Park officials say two girls rescued from a trench were conscious and breathing when they were taken to hospitals Sunday afternoon.

The incident occurred late Sunday morning in the 18300 block of White Oak Court in the southwest suburb, said Patrick Carr, Tinley Park's director of emergency management.

Four children were playing in the excavation site when mud collapsed on Nicole Salwierak, 11, and Sarah Miranda, 12, WGN-TV reported. Nicole was trapped in mud from the shoulders down and Sarah was underneath her.

"Firefighters said this was the perfect scenario for them to be alive," Nicole's father, Robert Salwierak, told WGN. "The way they were laying on top of each other created an air pocket to breathe."

Nicole's younger brother and sister rushed to tell their mother, who dialed 911. The girls were conscious and talking during the ordeal, officials said. They were trapped for more than 30 minutes while rescue workers used their bare hands to dig them out, officials said.

Emergency personnel were able to talk to the children throughout the incident.

Nicole was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, and Sarah was taken to Silver Cross Hospital in Joliet, WGN reported. Both girls suffered bruising and swelling, but they are expected to recover, family members told WGN.

Emergency crews received a call about 11 a.m. of a foundation collapse at a vacant lot where a single-family home was being built, Tinley Park spokesman Scott Niehaus said.

They were rescued by 12:30 p.m., he said.

Niehaus said he didn't know how the girls became trapped but said there were no foundation walls constructed.

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