The Norman Transcript

April 10, 2013

NC father tried to save kids

Associated Press
The Associated Press

STANLEY, N.C. — The North Carolina father who was working in a two-story-deep hole that collapsed said Tuesday that he worked frantically to save his daughter and her cousin from the wall of falling dirt that killed them.

Jordan Arwood, 31, of Stanley was operating a backhoe Sunday night in the pit when the walls caved in on the children. The bodies of the two young cousins, 6-year-old Chloe Jade Arwood and 7-year-old James Levi Caldwell, were dug out Monday morning.

In his first media interview, Arwood told the Associated Press that he reached out to save the children but they were just outside his reach.

He said he dug faster and faster trying to save the children until he couldn’t breathe.

“When the wall came down, I kept grabbing what was in front of me — grabbing enough dirt, grabbing boulders. ... I wasn’t going to stop until I pulled them out. But I couldn’t save them,” he said, sobbing.

He paused for a moment.

“I wish it was me,’ he said.

For local news and more, subscribe to The Norman Transcript Smart Edition, or our print edition.