Deadly NJ sand collapse: This is how beachgoers can safely dig in
Just because digging holes in the sand is basically an ancient activity doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a safe one. It’s happened so many times before, and recently, another tragedy was a result of sand collapsing.
In Toms River, siblings Levi Caverly and his sister became trapped in a 10-foot hole they dug together. The sister survived, but Levi succumbed. This is all too familiar a story and it’s important that you learn and teach your children the safe way to dig in the sand.
While building holes in the sand is and should be a fun activity, it should be done in a specific manner in order to avoid freak accidents with sand shifting back into place as people try to move the sand off of a trapped victim, as was the case in Toms River.
Cell phone cameras have made the situation worse because people love to snap shots of themselves in the deep holes they worked so hard to dig.
Although “digging a hole to China” may be a fun game to try, there are many risks involved, especially when the hole you’re digging becomes too deep. But that doesn’t mean you can’t dig at all. You’ve just got to follow a few important guidelines.
It’s important when digging a hole on the beach to make sure that you are surrounded by others, in case there is a collapse, or even if you find yourself unable to climb out.
You can safely dig holes on the beach as long as they only take up a small area and are no deeper than the knees of the smallest person in the group, to avoid getting stuck or being unable to see at all.
There is absolutely no tunneling allowed. Never leave your hole unattended and always fill it back in so it isn’t a hazard to others.
Never put your head below the level of the sand because if the hole does collapse you could become entrapped.
Never try digging or tunneling into the side of the berm because although the sand may seem stiff and firm, it can collapse easily.
According to national statistics, falling into a sand hole is much more likely to happen than even a shark attack.
Keep this in mind next time you’re at the beach, and if you see someone digging a hole unattended, make sure to take necessary precautions to make sure no one gets hurt.
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco only.
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