Dirt Tunnel Collapse Leads to Death of Temecula Boy

Boy was critically injured after several feet of dirt closed in on him

By Joseph M.D. Young, Lauren Steussy and Kelly McPherson
|  Friday, Feb 17, 2012  |  Updated 2:07 PM PDT
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An 11-year-old boy was left in critical condition after a dirt tunnel collapsed on top of him in Temecula on Sunday afternoon.

An 11-year-old boy was left in critical condition after a dirt tunnel collapsed on top of him in Temecula on Sunday afternoon.

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An 11-year-old boy left in critical condition after a dirt tunnel collapsed on top of him has died, medical examiners reported.

The accident in Temecula Feb. 4, left Anthony Fowler critically injured, according to the Riverside County Sheriff's Department.

On Friday, medical examiners confirmed Fowler's death on Monday in Rady's Children's Hospital.

Fowler was digging a tunnel with another 11-year-old boy named Tyler Brown on the side of a dry riverbed in an area southeast of 40356 N. General Kearny Road, according to Sgt. Sergeant K. McDonald.

As the children dug into the side of the dry riverbank , at about 4:10 p.m., a tunnel collapsed on top of Fowler, McDonald said.

After the tunnel collapsed, Brown was able to yell for help, alerting two adults who helped dig Fowler out while calling 911, according to a report.

Minutes later, officers from the Temecula police arrived to the scene and found Fowler buried from his head to his legs. Fire and paramedic personnel repotedly assisted officers in unearthing the boy.

They dug him out from of the dirt and transported him by ambulance to Rancho Springs Medical Center in Murrieta for treatment. He was later flown by helicopter to Children's Hospital, where he was listed in critical condition, McDonald said.

In a letter from Brown's father Chris, he describes the difficulty his son has been having since the collapse.

"Tyler...fights the pictures in his mind and the guilt of not being strong enough to dig is friend free," Chris said.

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