Sunday, September 10, 2006

Digging Deadly Holes in the Sand: Stop!

Years ago I read an article about an 18 year old high school football star who was buried in a hole by all his buddies -the hole collapsed in creating a vacuum and he died right there on the beach with tons of onlookers and nothing they could do...

It happened twice this summer -a father killed in front of his kids that had probably giggled with each scoop of sand they threw on to him (tons of people on the beach attempted to pull him out) and a little girl of 6 on a beach in Virginia.

There was also a 15 yr. old boy killed on a beach in Queensland this summer when the walls of a hole him and his brothers were making collapsed on him.

And a near miss in Virginia Beach with a 13 year old that would have died if a Pennsylvania man's dogs hadn't found him under the sand:
"...Robert Keel of Huntingdon, Pennsylvania was walking on an empty stretch of beach on April Tenth with his dog, Jude, and his daughter's dog, Riley.

The Brittany Spaniels ran off and wouldn't come back. So Keel followed them and found two legs sticking out of the sand.

Keel and a woman began scooping sand and uncovered 13-year-old Dillon Carney. The Pennsylvania boy had tried to build a sand tunnel and it collapsed on him. He was unconscious.

Keel cleaned sand from Dillon's mouth and breathed air into his lungs, and the boy started breathing again." (source)

For some reason, men refuse to believe this can happen...but there are many documented incidents:

"Accidental burial in sand is a tragically unrecognized risk associated with a popular childhood recreational activity. We describe 4 boys, aged 10 to 13 years, who were accidentally buried by sand. One boy died after his self-made tunnel in a sandbox collapsed. In a separate incident at a construction site, 1 boy died, and 2 were injured after a 30-foot sandpile collapsed as they ran down the embankment; all 3 were buried by the sand. In both incidents, play was unsupervised, and burial was sudden and complete. The calculated weight of the sand exceeded the expected maximal muscle effort of the chest, leading to traumatic asphyxiation secondary to restrictive compression of the chest."

This knowledge often ruins my time on the beach when the people next to me are burying their tiny child in the sand --I am often compelled to say something (then of course they look at me like I'm out of my mind). Anyone that knows me in "real life" can tell you that I am hardly a worry-obsessed person, but why take this chance that can turn fatal in seconds?

Build castles or sculptures...bury your feet if you must -but please, stop with the giant holes...

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