A 5-year-old Georgia girl was killed after a 300-pound stone monument collapsed on top of her – and her frantic father and uncle couldn’t free her from the massive rock in time.
Bella Grace Bennett was playing with her sister at the Lee Street Resource Center in Blackshear, where the two girls live only a block away with their grandmother, when the monument toppled over and landed on her head and shoulders and pinned her to the ground.
The 32-year-old monument, which was erected in 1989, appeared to be missing a bolt used to keep the stone slab upright, according to photos and video obtained by News4Jax.
A witness, who asked to remain anonymous, tells the outlet that he attempted to help rescue the girl as her father and uncle frantically tried to move the stone monument off of her.
5-year-old Bella Grace Bennett (pictured) was killed on Monday after a 300-pound stone monument collapsed on top of her
‘The dad was down that whole time trying to remove this slab off of her and he was not successful,’ he said.
‘I tried to lift it up so he could pull her out and we weren’t successful.’
Another witness said Bella’s uncle held the girl’s hand until help arrived.
It ultimately took all three men to move the stone slab off of the girl, however they were unable to remove the heavy stone slab in time.
The girl was rushed to a nearby hospital before being airlifted to Wolfson Children’s Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Bennett (pictured) was playing on the heavy stone slab with her 8-year-old sister when it toppled onto the girl’s head and shoulders, pinning her to the ground
Pictured: the 300-pound stone monument that toppled over onto the girl at the Lee Street Resource Center in Blackshear
Images of the scene revealed only one bolt was properly affixed to the stone monument. It’s still unclear whether the missing bolt was in place at the time it fell. The Blackshear Police Department say an investigation into the tragedy is ongoing.
Meanwhile, the family of the young girl, alongside community members and religious leaders, gathered at the site of Bella’s tragic death on Monday afternoon to celebrate Bella’s life.
‘This community needs you, oh Lord,’ one of the mourners prayed.
‘We need you, Lord, like we’ve never needed you before.’
Bella had just started kindergarten at Blackshear Elementary, with assistant principal Mandy Williams telling News4Jax that the young girl loved playing with her older sister.
‘That was one of her favorite things to do,’ said Williams, who has known Bella since preschool.
‘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.’
It ultimately took three men to move the stone slab off of the girl, who was then rushed to a nearby hospital before being airlifted to Wolfson Children’s Hospital
Images revealed only one bolt was properly affixed to the stone monument, with Blackshear Police Department saying an investigation into the tragedy is ongoing
Family of the young girl, alongside community members and religious leaders, gather at the site of Bella’s tragic passing
Williams recounted how much Bella loved being at school.
‘I would stand in the big kindergarten hall,’ Williams said.
‘I would say, ‘There’s Bella.’ She (was) so excited to see me. You could tell she was happy to be there.’
The accident comes a month after an 8-year-old girl died after being crushed by a fallen marble handrail in the Bronx on August 2, DailyMail.com reported.
The girl and a friend attempted to squeeze through the marble columns when one of the handrails collapsed and crashed down directly onto the girl.
In July, a 2-year-old Texas girl, Delilah Hunt, died under similarly tragic circumstances, after an air-conditioning compressor plate flew off of a family truck and hit her in the head.
In that case, family members said that doctors told them her brain pressure reached a critical level due to the injuries.
Meanwhile, donations to assist the girl’s family may be made to Blackshear Elementary School or to Hart Funeral Home, according to the Blackshear Times.
The 32-year-old monument, pictured, was erected in 1989