SAN DIEGO (CBS) — Tragedy struck when two 11-year-old boys in Temecula were doing what they loved.

Anthony Fowler and his best friend, Tyler Brown, were playing outside, digging caves in the dirt, when the soil collapsed on them in a dry riverbank at Long Canyon Creek Park.

Anthony had been laying down in his cave and was buried. Tyler managed to break free and go get help.

tyler brown ad anthony fowler Boy, 11, Dies In Hospital Weeks After Becoming Injured In Collapsed Dirt Tunnel

(credit: CBS)

An emergency crew arrived and, with the help of some passersby, extracted Anthony from the dirt and revived him with CPR.

Anthony spent weeks in a San Diego hospital, his brain no longer functioning and his body shutting down.

Thursday morning, Anthony’s parents announced that their son had died. They said his organs were donated to help others live.

One of Tyler’s classmates called him a hero.

“I wouldn’t say that because usually heroes save lives and I couldn’t get [Anthony] out fast enough,” Tyler said.

Tyler said he visited Anthony at the hospital several times. He said he hasn’t been back to Long Canyon Creek Park.

tunnel collapse2 Boy, 11, Dies In Hospital Weeks After Becoming Injured In Collapsed Dirt Tunnel

(credit: CBS)

Tyler said of Anthony: “We’re almost like brothers because we’re always helping each other out and we’re usually at each others’ houses everyday.”

With the help of a therapist and his family, Tyler is trying to cope with losing his best friend.

Comments (16)
  1. binny says:

    Tyler, you did the very best you could. You may not think so, but it is absolutely true.You did the right thing. I know you miss your buddy and I am sad for you and for his family. Your best gift to them now, so you can show them you are always thinking of Anthony, is to keep yourself safe and not take risks that are too dangerous. God bless you and Anthony too.

  2. mary says:

    i was his class mate in 4th grade 😦

  3. S.S. says:

    You are a hero Tyler – you did the best you could when faced with a terrifying situation. Unfortunately heroes don’t always succeed, but that doesn’t change what they are. I am very sorry for your loss – you will never forget Anthony, but time and support from your loved ones will slowly ease the pain.

  4. jackson griffin says:

    i remember anthony when he used to live and florida we played baseball together we were good friends. rip anthony you will be missed

  5. Mel says:

    You are a hero Tyler. It is because you ran for help that Anthony was able to live longer. Even though he died, his organs are now going to help other people live. They would not have had that chance if you hadn’t been there to help get him out of there. It’s sad that your friend died, but he is helping others to live, since he couldn’t.

  6. Stori says:

    So sad for this little guy. When I was their ages I went on a lot of adventures playing with my friends doing similiar things. I hope he is able to live the rest of his life without guilt. Nothing he could have done outside of what he did to save his friend. His friend that passed will be with him always.

  7. Michael says:

    You and Anthony are both heroes in my book. Its not your fault Tyler. You did everything you could possibly do. You fought bravely to help your friend and now he’s helping others in a way nobody else could.

  8. dave says:

    I always did the same thing as a kid…loved to make forts, digging out tunnels and pits in the ground. And I hate to say it, but loved to crawl in storm drains. Such is the mindset of an adventerous 11-year old. Its just simple chance that I’m here, and this young man is not.

  9. sandykister says:

    tyler you are a hero and a brave boy, u will pull thru this, you ran to get help, u made him live longer, that is a plus, you will always carry him in your heart.

  10. Betz says:

    Poor kids, I feel bad for Tyler who did everything he could.

    That said, you lost me at “laying”. Doesn’t anyone proof read this stuff???

  11. Kevin says:

    Tyler certainly handled himself extremely well for being in an urgent situation. Just thinking enough to stop and call 911 is remarkable. I’m sure Anthony would be very grateful. You did your best and did everything right. It’s just an unfortunate accident. My prayers are with both of you.

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