NORTH BRUNSWICK, N.J. — A 7-year-old boy died after he fell into a gaping sinkhole Saturday and lay there trapped for about seven hours before rescuers pulled him out unconscious.
"I believe that the rescue workers were hoping he was alive when they pulled him out, but he was dead when he arrived at the hospital," said Kathy Scipione, nursing supervisor at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. She identified the boy as Kaume Shariff.
She said doctors had not announced the exact cause of death but it was believed to be suffocation.
"The boy was just down there too long. He was buried for seven hours," a police officer said.
Officials said the boy had been playing in a vacant lot near his home when he fell into the hole. Rescue workers pumped oxygen and heat into the mud-filled hole, which was about eight feet deep and two feet wide, in an effort to keep him alive.
Police said they did not know why the hole was there, but they doubted that it had been dug by a local utility.