A California beach party turns deadly after 6-foot deep sand pit collapsed on a 20-year-old man who was laying inside the pit to take pictures of his friends. KNBC's Beverly White reports.
A college exchange student in California was killed Wednesday after a sand pit he dug with friends collapsed on top of him.
The 20-year-old man, whose name has not been released, was an exchange student from Seoul, South Korea at Master’s College in Santa Clara, Calif. He died of injuries suffered when a large pit that he and other students had dug caved in around him at about 4:50 p.m. at Oxnard Beach Park in Southern California, officials from the Oxnard Fire Department said in a statement.
“I think the kids were just having fun on the beach,” Oxnard Fire Battalion Chief Darwin Base told NBCLosAngeles.com. “There was a big group of them down there. They were taking pictures of each other and from what I understand the individual was laying back in the pit and taking pictures of his fellow students and that’s when it sloughed and came in on him.”
Firefighters arrived to the scene at about 5 p.m. and began digging through the sand with shovels and buckets. The fire department said it took at least 15 minutes to reach the victim.
Rescue crews performed CPR on the man when he was extricated, and he was taken to Ventura County Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
Witnesses said the pit in the sand was about six to eight feet deep. It was not known why it collapsed.
Base said digging holes in the sand can be extremely dangerous because the sand and surrounding soil tend to be very unstable. He said lifeguards will warn people who dig holes, but the stretch of beach where the student was buried did not have a lifeguard nearby.
In the New England Journal of Medicine, a group of doctors reported in 2007 they had assembled 52 documented cases involving people buried by sand when a hole collapsed, in which 60 percent of the incidents were fatal, the Ventura County Star reported.
There are no ordinances against digging on the beach in Oxnard.
The man’s name and hometown in Korea have not been released pending the notification of his relatives.
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