OCEANSIDE — Summertime fun quickly turned into an emergency that called Oceanside firefighters, police officers and lifeguards to the beach the evening of July 30, when a hole in the sand collapsed on an 18-year-old Riverside man.
“It’s happened before,” a lifeguard, said. “When a hole is big we’re definitely concerned and fill it in.”
The hole was 8 feet long, 4 feet wide, and 5 feet deep. The man proceeded to dig a tunnel and that’s when the sand collapsed on top of him, burying him several feet underground.
Family and friends immediately called for help and started digging the man out by hand. Before firefighters, police and lifeguards arrived the man was freed, but had inhaled a lot of sand.
He was evaluated by Fire Department Paramedics and went by car to Tri-City Hospital to seek additional treatment.
Lifeguards assisted the victim’s friends in filling in the hole before leaving the scene.
Battalion Chief Pete Lawrence said the immediate action of the victim’s family and friends was prudent. One thing that was done right was that that they used their hands to remove the sand from the victim. Shovels or sticks should not be used because they can accidentally strike the victim and cause serious or even fatal injuries.
Lawrence warns beach visitors that a hole should never be deeper than the waist height of the shortest person who is playing in or around it. Additionally, never tunnel in the sand, since it will almost always collapse without warning.