When people go to the beach, their biggest concerns are the dangers that lay in the ocean, such as shark attacks or drowning. However, there is another danger that people don’t think too much about. Sand holes are being discovered as an overlooked danger at the beach. Children and even adults like to dig deep holes in the sand, but these holes have the possibility of caving in and burying the digger beneath the sand where some have been known to suffocate to death.

Since 1985, 31 sand hole deaths are said to have occurred in the United States. The victims are usually boys and ranged in age from 3 to 31 years old. Over two dozen have been killed in the last decade. Eight others have died in Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. When the walls of the sand hole suddenly collapse, it leaves the victim buried in the sand with no evidence of the hole or location of the victim. It is too dangerous to use a shovel to dig them out because of the risk of accidently stabbing them with the tool. When digging by hand, the sand continues to pour into the hole that is being made. Rescuers have only a few minutes to save their victims. After five minutes without oxygen, the brain begins to die.

From 1990 to 2006, there were 12 shark attack deaths in the United States. At the same time, there were 16 sand hole deaths. This makes being buried alive by sand holes a more deadly incident than shark attacks. Lifeguards are told to stop anyone from digging a hole that is deeper than waist deep for their own protection and are asked to fill in the hole afterwards. Many get irate about this request, but now it is easy to see why this is asked.

For related articles visit

http://www.cnn.com/2007/HEALTH/06/20/sand.deaths.ap/index.html and http://www.brown.edu/Administration/News_Bureau/2000-01/00-119.html.

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