STANLEY, N.C. – A heartbreaking 911 call quickly paints a grim picture of what rescue crews were up against Sunday night.
On the call, Jordan Arwood can be heard pleading with a 911 dispatcher to send help.
"Please, please get somebody out here, my children are buried," he said.
Arwood was on a backhoe, working on the 25-foot-deep pit when dirt caved in on his daughter, six-year-old Chloe and her seven-year-old cousin James.
"Please hurry. The entire wall collapsed on them. Send everybody you can, I mean everybody," he said to the dispatcher.
Neighbors say he'd spent the last two weeks digging the hole. Several neighbors told NBC Charlotte they believed it was going to be a basement or some sort of underground shelter.
The 911 call lasts more than 10 minutes and Arwood's pain becomes increasingly difficult to listen to as he desperately tried to get help to the kids.
"Can you see your kids at all?” the dispatcher asked.
“No I cannot. They're covered under maybe 10 feet of dirt. The entire wall collapsed on them," he said.
Rescue crews worked for hours, at times using shovels or just bare hands to get to the kids.
It was 13 hours later on Monday morning when rescuers finally recovered their bodies.
Detectives spent Monday afternoon investigating what Arwood was building.
They say he did not have building permits, and authorities confirmed they took several guns and marijuana plants from Arwood's home.
As a convicted felon he is not allowed to own guns. So far though, he does not face any criminal charges.
Several community vigils are planned for the children.
In a press release sent to media outlets, officials said their findings would be passed along to the District Attorney’s office to determine if charges will be filed.