Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Man dies at beach in Half Moon Bay - what were they thinking?

Half Moon Bay Review/Mark Noack, 7/21/14.  "Man who died in beach cave-in ID'ed."

Francis Beach, Half Moon Bay
Eemergency crew workers and volunteers try to rescue a man who died after being trapped in the sand at Francis Beach in Half Moon Bay, Calif., July 21,
Too late to save a man
who dug a hole that collapsed.
A San Lorenzo man died on Monday afternoon at Francis State Beach after a tunnel he was digging in the sand collapsed and buried him. The 26-year-old man was at the beach with a group of friends and family and working to dig a hole estimated to be eight to 10 feet down in the sand, according to emergency responders. The tunnel was wide enough to fit inside, and it was dug at an angle into the slope of the sand dune. Around 5:20 p.m., the sides of the tunnel caved in and trapped him under a mound of sand. No one else reportedly was in the hole when it collapsed.

.... Although uncommon, life-threatening incidents involving sand cave-ins have been reported along other California beaches. In 2008, a cave carved into the side of a sand dune at Natural Bridges State Beach in Santa Cruz collapsed on three boys who were playing nearby. One of the boys died in the incident. Similar incidents have also occurred at other part of the state, but this is the first instance on the San Mateo County coast, according to state parks officials."   Read article.

Related articles -   The Daily Journal (San Mateo County), Staff, 7/23/14.   "The Daily Journal/Staff, 7/23/14.  "Man dies on beach after being buried alive:  Half Moon Bay Visitor get trapped in 10-foot-deep hole."  ....  "The victim, identified by the San Mateo County Coroner’s Office as Adam Jay Pye, of San Lorenzo, had been digging angled tunnels in the sand with friends or family members, said Capt. Jonathan Cox with the Cal Fire Coastside Protection District. ....  The hole was dug about 10 to 15 feet from the waterline near a campground just north of Kelly Beach, Cox said. ....  Firefighters are also reminding residents to be aware of hidden dangers at the beach. People should stay back from cliffs, use caution when swimming in big surf and not dig too deeply in the sand, Cox said."

San Mateo Times/Erin Ivie, 7/22/14.  "Half Moon Bay:  Man dies after being buried by sand at Francis Beach."   "The man was spending time with family friends at a spot just off the RV park where he and another young woman dug two large, diagonal holes about 10 feet deep, then tried to connect them to make a tunnel, Cox said. While officials could not immediately say what caused the tunnel to collapse, Cox said the tide was about six to 10 feet away and that no water infiltrated the hole. ... While beachgoers are continually urged to exercise caution near cliffs and to avoid swimming in big surf, Cox urged residents to avoid digging holes too deep in the sand. Hidden dangers of the beach do not only exist by sea, Cox said, and as Monday's tragedy demonstrated, sand can be just as unwieldy the tides. "The sand had just engulfed this young man -- he was standing up straight, like a soldier with his hands to his sides," Frey recalled. "He was buried alive. He was buried alive in that hole that he dug."

Note photographs.  Francis Beach from California's best; rescue attempt by Dean Coppola from the Half Moon Bay Review article above.

Posted by Kathy Meeh


The Local Libertarian said...

Maybe they weren't thinking a whole lot. Why would anyone want to dig a 10ft deep trench in wet sand by ocean shore for recreation?

Darwin might know the answer.
Tragic none the less.

Tom Clifford said...

Most people don't know that if you are buried up to the neck in sand,dirt, concrete etc. you will quickly die. The weigh of the sand etc. keeps your lungs from expanding and you will suffocate even though your month is clear of any debris. Lost two childhood friends to a sand pit we all play in.
Saddens me still to think about it.

The Local Libertarian said...

People really under estimate how fragile life and living are. And how brutally careless nature can be.

I attribute this to a false sense of comfort and entitlement accrued from even falser sense of triumph over nature.

Anonymous said...

Is there an anology here to our city finances?

Anonymous said...

910 Amen. The City of Pacifica has been digging holes in the sand for years. We haven't learned a thing.

Anonymous said...

A man died and you're using that tragedy to make wisecracks about city finances. Pathetic.

Anonymous said...

Human nature to see the analogy between one death and another. There's no disrespect involved, no dramatic appeals required.