A teenager from Chesapeake, Va., died after he was buried in several feet of sand on Saturday inside a hole that had been dug in a back-dune area at Cape Hatteras National Seashore in North Carolina, the officials said.
The 17-year-old boy, whose identity had not been released by the authorities, was trapped underground when sand from the adjacent dune collapsed into the hole, the National Park Service said in a statement. The back-dune area where he was caught was not visible from the beachfront, the service said.
The teenager’s friends and family had been looking for him on their own before Seashore law enforcement rangers responded to an emergency call at about 2 p.m., the service said. The hole was about a tenth of a mile east of an off-road vehicle ramp in Frisco, N.C., a community on Hatteras Island.
“Rangers worked with family members to extract the teen while simultaneously performing CPR,” the service said in a statement.
Emergency responders from Dare County Emergency Medical Services and Hatteras Island Ocean Rescue joined in the rescue effort and administered CPR, the service said. The death remained under investigation.
“Cape Hatteras National Seashore offers our condolences to his family and friends,” David Hallac, the superintendent of the National Parks of Eastern North Carolina, said in the statement. “We urge visitors not to dig deep holes on the beach due to the danger they present to beachgoers and emergency response staff.”
The National Park Service could not be immediately reached for more details on the investigation.
Cape Hatteras National Seashore stretches over 70 miles of barrier islands from Bodie Island to Ocracoke Island and is part of the Outer Banks along North Carolina’s Atlantic coast. The park was established in 1937 as the country’s first national seashore for preservation purposes, the National Park Service said.
The beach, dune, grassland, shrub thicket, maritime forest and salt marsh habitats found at Cape Hatteras undergo constant change, and the landscape is a draw for many visitors.
Sand collapses have resulted in serious injury and deaths at other dunes and sandy preserves in different parts of the country over the years.