Sand cave-ins pose dangers at the beach

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by Jemie Lee, 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on September 1, 2014 at 5:49 PM

Updated Monday, Sep 1 at 5:49 PM

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - It's a whole lot of fun to play with and may seem perfectly safe, but so far this summer, sand has claimed the lives of at least three people in the U.S. 

 
"It's never really crossed my mind," Cindy Dull of Virginia Beach said. 
 
Over the weekend a 9-year-old in Oregon died after the sand she was digging in, collapsed and buried her alive. And back in June, a Virginia man got trapped in a deep hole in the Outer Banks and succumbed to his injuries.
"You're not gonna be able to push yourself out of it. There's gonna be a very limited amount of oxygen to be able to breathe in there," Tom Gill, deputy chief of the Virginia Beach Life Saving Service said. 
 
According to a study from the Mayo Clinic, dry sand weighs 100 pounds per square foot, and wet sand weighs 120 pounds per square foot.
 
"You're talking about digging in areas with very movable earth next to it. It's something that's going to collapse -- just like when you drag your hand in the sand, sand typically collapses right behind it," Gill said. 
 
But for Cindy Dull, she says that's not going to stop her kids from playing in the sand.
 
"You see you're kids having such a great time in the sand and enjoying themselves, and as long as you're watching them and you're with them, and you have a close eye on them, I think they're okay," she said. 
 
If you are going to dig, lifeguards say a good rule of thumb to follow: never dig past your knees. 
 

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