A day at the beach turned into terror for a Newport Beach, Calif., teen who became trapped when the outsized sand hole he was digging with a friend caved in on him.
Video that was shot yesterday at the scene shows beachgoers flocking towards the collapsed sand tunnel to help save the boy, identified as Matt Mina, 17. Over 30 minutes passed before firefighters were able to pull the victim out because of the "precarious and unstable nature of the sand," according to Jennifer Schulz of the Newport Beach Fire Department.
The boy had dug two holes with a friend prior to the collapse and they were tunneling towards each other just before he found himself entrapped.
"I thought I was going to die," Mina said in an interview with NBC News from Orange, Calif., Thursday. "I was just really scared. I didn't know if anyone could hear me when I was screaming for help."
Schulz said in a statement, "Suddenly, the tunnel caved in and collapsed on the one boy completely burying him under the sand. One family member alerted the lifeguard while other beachgoers immediately jumped in and began digging with any utensils available on the beach."
Dirk Vanderwall was among those that darted towards the boy to help the rescue effort.
"It was very frantic," Vanderwall told ABC affiliate KABC. "We knew somebody was buried there. We didn't know how old the person was. But as we kept digging it was longer and longer, it took a long time, you just start thinking it couldn't be going well."
Footage shows the crowd erupting with cheers as the boy emerges alive and is taken to a nearby hospital where he was treated, but managed to escape with no injuries.