ARANSAS PASS, Texas (CBSDFW.COM/CNN) – It was the middle of the afternoon on February 19 when the unthinkable happened as a toddler stood on the lid of a septic tank in Texas.
Two-year-old Charleigh Nicole Nelson was at the Paradise Lagoons RV Park in Aransas Pass when the lid collapsed beneath her and she plunged some 15 feet.
According to the child’s father, neighbors joined family members as they tried to reach Charleigh with a rope — but it was too short. The group then tried, unsuccessfully, to reach her with a backhoe.
Ultimately it came down to first responders to finally reach the toddler.
“Rockport Police Department, EMS, Rockport and Fulton Volunteer Fire Departments were dispatched to a child who had fallen in a septic system,” explained Gillian Cox, with the Rockport Volunteer Fire Department. “Upon arrival, initial police officers and firefighters found civilians from the park here attempting to rescue a child.”
A fire crew member was lowered into the tank — through an opening less than two-feet in diameter — to recover the girl’s remains.
By the time Charleigh’s body was retrieved she had been in the tank more than an hour. Investigators are still working to try and figure out exactly how the child fell.
Aransas Pass is about 25 miles from Corpus Christi.