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7-year-old girl killed in collapsed hole she dug on Florida beach

The girl was identified as one of two siblings from Indiana who went into the deep hole on a South Florida beach.
7-year-old girl killed in collapsed hole she dug on Florida beach
Posted at 8:11 PM, Feb 21, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-21 22:12:01-05

A 7-year-old girl died after she and her brother, an 8-year-old boy, were digging a large hole in the sand on a South Florida beach that collapsed on them. 

The siblings were identified as part of a visiting family from Indiana, Scripps News West Palm Beach reported

According to the Sun Sentinel, the family was vacationing at a Lauderdale-by-the-Sea beach on Tuesday when both children became buried in the sand. The pair had dug a hole in the sand estimated to be around 5-6 feet deep, according to Pompano Beach Fire Rescue.

At around 3 p.m., emergency crews responded to the scene to find the boy buried in the sand up to his chest and the girl completely buried under the boy. 

SEE MORE: Woman rescued, yelling for help, after fall into California sinkhole

Images taken at the scene showed a group of people frantically digging, trying to free the two children. 

Rescuers had to use support boards to keep sand from collapsing on them as they worked to dig the children out. It was not immediately verified whether an adult had been helping the children dig the hole. 

Sandra King of Pompano Beach Fire Rescue said after the girl was recovered under the sand, "We were conducting life-saving techniques to try to bring her pulse back, and it never did recover and she was pronounced dead at the hospital," the Sun Sentinel reported. 

King said the boy's parents put him into the back of a police cruiser to transport him to a hospital, where he was in stable condition. 

Last year a Virginia teen was killed on a North Carolina beach after a large hole he was digging collapsed on him

In 2022 a teenager died, and another was injured after a sand collapsed on them as they were digging a large hole at a beach in Toms Rivers, New Jersey. 

Safety officials at U.S. beaches have warned travelers that sand is by nature unstable, and digging holes on the beach poses a danger. Even smaller uncovered holes can pose a safety hazard. 

Digging holes on beaches can also cause problems later on, even if they are covered or filled back in. If an emergency happens, holes might not be able to be filled in time for emergency crews and their vehicles to pass on beaches. 

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that 52 fatal and nonfatal incidents in the last decade pointed to beach hole digging as an under-recognized hazard. The study said, "The most common setting was a public beach in a coastal area, near the shoreline."


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