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Hidden Dangers of Sand Holes at the Beach

While many Americans enjoy beach vacations, few realize the dangers of digging holes in the sand. In February, a 7-year-old girl tragically died when a five-foot hole she and her brother dug on a Florida beach collapsed, burying her alive. Despite rescue efforts, the unstable sand made it impossible to save her in time.

Research shows sand hole collapses are more deadly than shark attacks. From 1997 to 2007, 31 people, mostly children, died in such incidents in the U.S., with 21 others surviving but needing CPR.

Sand’s stability depends on its moisture content. Wet sand can hold its shape, but dry sand collapses easily. Deep holes are hazardous as they can quickly fill in, suffocating anyone trapped inside.

Rescue attempts are challenging due to the sand's weight and instability. Firefighters often use boards and specialized tools to stabilize and clear the sand. Experts advise not digging holes deeper than the knee height of the shortest person in your group, with a maximum depth of two feet.

To stay safe, fill in any holes you dig or find at the beach to prevent accidents. This simple precaution can help ensure a fun and safe beach experience.


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