UK coastguard issues beach hole warning after boy trapped up to his neck

Parents were on hand to help save a boy’s life over the weekend by scoping sand away from his mouth and nose at Anderby Creek in Lincolnshire.

A 14 year old boy was lucky not to have been buried alive when a hole he was digging on a Lincolnshire beach collapsed. 

The teenage boy was reportedly digging at the beach at Anderby Creek on Saturday 8th April when the sand beneath him collapsed, leaving him trapped up to his neck. 

The beach at Anderby Creek, Lincolnshire, in 2017. Photograph: John Hill/Alamy

His parents helped to save him by scooping the sand away from his mouth and nose, before coastguard rescue teams from Skegness and Mablethorpe arrived. East Midlands ambulance service, police and fire crews also attended the scene.

It reportedly took an hour for the boy to be rescued before he was examined by the ambulance crew.

Fran Wilkins, a HM Coastguard senior coastal operations officer, said the incident probably happened as a result of the sand being disturbed.

She said: “What happens as you disturb the sand, there’s a high likelihood of it collapsing back in, and the priority was to make sure at all times that his airway was protected and his head remained above the sand.

“It needed lots of people in a coordinated effort to remove the sand in a way that we could get him out of the hole as quickly and as safely as possible.

“Luckily, he did remain calm throughout, which definitely helped reduce the panic and allowed everyone to get to work and do their job.”

She commended the boy’s parents for keeping the sand out of his mouth and calling for help.

‘There’s that instinct to keep trying to dig, but the more you disturb and weaken that sand that has collapsed in, you’re potentially going to create a much bigger hole,” she said.

“They kept his head clear and his mouth and nose free so he could breathe and waited for more help, which was really, really important for him.”

Wilkins advised beachgoers to consider the size and location when digging a hole and to be mindful that “the larger it is, the higher the chances it may collapse”.

Lucy Hicks, a senior maritime operations officer for HM Coastguard, said: “The teenager was extremely lucky; if the tide had been coming in or the hole was just a little bit larger, there could have been a very different outcome today.

“Sand, by nature, is notoriously unstable once you disturb it. We’re not telling people they shouldn’t build sandcastles or dig holes … We love the beach and want people to enjoy their time when visiting, but you have to think, if it took you two hours to dig a hole, that’s how long it can take for someone to dig you out.”

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