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Boy Suffocates and Dies in Collapsed Sand Tunnel

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When children visit the beach, there is one thing that most of them cannot resist doing–building sandcastles and digging tunnels in the sand. However, safety officials say that this innocent childhood game can take a devastating turn more often than you might think. A young boy in New Jersey died after he was accidentally buried beneath the sand while digging a tunnel with his brother. He was immediately administered CPR, but died after he was transported to the hospital.

The 12-year-old boy and his brother were visting a New Jersey beach on Tuesday and digging the tunnel. While inside the tunnel, the sand collapsed on the boy, trapping him inside. Lifeguards pulled him out of the sand and began to administer CPR. They reported that there was blood trickling from his nose and that he was unresponsive. He was rushed to Monmouth Medical Center and placed in the pediatric intensive care unit where he was pronounced dead on Wednesday afternoon.

During the incident, passersby were also injured by a fire truck rushing to the scene. A man and his infant son were both knocked to the ground. The man suffered broken bones and the infant was injured, but not severely. Unfortunately, lifeguards and others say that sand tunnel collapses are not that uncommon. In fact, there were about 16 beach-hole-related deaths between 1990 and 2010 and a 2007 report from the New England Journal of Medicine estimated 31 deaths over a twenty year time span. Lifeguards also say that they have to stop someone from digging too deep of a sand hole at least once a day and that holes are a hazard for anyone using the beach.