A teenage boy died in a freak accident on a New Jersey beach when police say the hole he was digging with his sister collapsed and trapped them both.
Levi Caverly, 18, was pronounced dead after being pulled from the gaping pit at Toms River’s Ocean Beach 3. His 17-year-old sister was injured in the sand collapse but survived.
Levi was visiting the barrier island in New Jersey with his 17-year-old sister. They used frisbees to dig about 10 feet deep in an area near the beach entrance on Seaview Road, authorities said. The sand collapsed on them and Caverly became fully buried. His sister was covered up to her chest.
Emergency crews from several neighboring towns in Ocean County assisted in the rescue effort using heavy machinery, buckets of water, and ladders to try to get Caverly free. His sister was treated at the scene.
It took emergency responders 45 minutes to reach Levi, and two hours to dig him out, according to authorities. In a Facebook post, Levi’s father described him as quirky, religious and a tech nut.
“Levi was himself,” the teen’s father, Todd Caverly, wrote on Facebook. “He was odd. He was quirky. He was not real concerned with what others thought. He knew Jesus Christ. He was involved in the worship team at church, and was the drummer in a teen/ young adult worship band. He was a tech nut and loved to program.”
Toms River Mayor Maurice Hill said the beach replenishment project and recent storms might have played a factor in the collapse. It’s also possible that a sinkhole swallowed the two teens, Hill opined.
“Sand might’ve been soft, if you dig down too far you get to wet sand which can almost work like quick sand, or you hit the sugar sand which is very light it will pull you down,” Hill said.
Lifeguards are not on duty until Memorial Day weekend and they do not allow anyone to dig above knee level to avoid potential accidents, according to the mayor.
The incident comes after a 13-year-old boy died when he became trapped in a hole he had dug at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park in Utah.
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