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Boy nearly buried alive in sand hole

Teen rescued after walls cave in on 5-foot ditch he climbed into while playing on the beach.

August 01, 2006|By Lauren Vane

A day after a 13-year-old boy almost died when he was completely buried under a mound of sand Sunday, Newport Beach firefighters warned beachgoers not to dig too deep in the sand.

Dylan Scott, of Riverside, was playing at the beach at Eighth Street on the Balboa Peninsula with his mother and younger brother when a hole he had dug collapsed on him. He was trapped for several minutes before lifeguards and firefighters freed him.

He was treated at Hoag Hospital and released late Sunday.

Dylan had been digging for more than an hour. The hole was an estimated five feet when the walls caved in and buried him. His mother, Wendy Scott, was watching Dylan's younger brother in the water when she turned around to see no sign of her son or the hole he was digging.

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"I turned and looked, and the hole was gone," Scott said.

Scott was next to Dylan and didn't hear a sound when the sand swallowed her son. She began frantically digging in the sand and asked other beachgoers for help.

"She just jams her hand in the sand and gets his hair," Newport Beach Battalion Chief Paul Matheis said.

Lifeguards, firefighters and bystanders reached Dylan several times, but the hole kept caving in. Eventually, he was pulled out of the sand, blue and unconscious. His mouth was filled with sand, Scott said.

He was buried for an estimated two to three minutes, Matheis said.

Scott said she warned her son not to dig the hole too deep because she heard horror stories about holes collapsing.

Fire department officials said it's not a good idea to dig holes below grade in the sand. As a rule, no one should go into a hole deeper than their knee, Matheis said.

Twenty years ago, at 56th Street in Newport Beach, two children died in a similar accident when a hole they were digging collapsed on them, Matheis said.

On Monday, Dylan was recovering at home with a sore throat and body, Scott said. Now her son, who loves to dig, doesn't want anything to do with digging a hole, she said.

"He doesn't want to," Scott said. "He's a digger, he always wants to dig caves in our backyard."

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