A 17-year-old from Chesapeake, Virginia, tragically lost his life when a sand dune collapsed and buried him at Cape Hatteras National Seashore in North Carolina on Saturday. The National Park Service confirmed the incident in a statement but has not yet disclosed the teenager’s identity.
The young man was trapped beneath several feet of sand while in a hole that was not visible from the beachfront. The hole had been dug in a back-dune area within the seashore, which spans over 70 miles and forms part of the Outer Banks. This coastal region in North Carolina is a popular tourist destination.
The teenager’s friends and family contacted law enforcement after they were unable to locate him on their own. Responding to the emergency call at around 2 p.m., park rangers collaborated with the family members to extricate the teenager, all the while performing CPR.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time that such a tragedy has occurred in a sandy environment. In another incident, a 13-year-old boy lost his life after being buried by a collapsed sand dune at Utah’s Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. The boy succumbed to his injuries a day later.
Cape Hatteras National Seashore features a diverse and ever-changing landscape, including beach, dune, grassland, shrub thicket, maritime forest, and salt marsh habitats. In light of the recent tragedy, officials have issued a warning to visitors against digging holes within the area. This precautionary measure aims to prevent any further incidents of this nature and ensure the safety of all visitors.