Boy Recovering After Sand Collapse at New Jersey Beach

Lifeguards and bystanders rushed to help, giving him CPR.

— -- A 12-year-old boy is recovering after an avalanche of sand crumbled on top of him while he played on a New Jersey beach, trapping him and leaving him unconscious.

The accident happened Monday on the 17th Street beach in Surf City, located in Ocean County in the central part of the state.

Lifeguards and bystanders rushed to help when the sand collapsed, giving the boy CPR. A medical helicopter carried him to a local hospital, where he is in stable condition, authorities said.

Officials say the boy was digging deep holes – an activity that experts say can trigger the surrounding walls of sand to shift and give way.

Sand collapses can be fatal. Last summer a recent college graduate, Adam Pye, 26, died after being buried at a northern California beach.

A 12-year-old New Jersey boy also died in 2012 after becoming trapped in a tunnel he dug with his brother.

Sand’s crumbling, shifting nature contributes to the hazards of cave-ins. Victims have been covered in seconds, with the sand making it difficult to breathe.

Safety experts say beach-goers should keep two things in mind when digging a hole at the beach – to keep the hole about knee-deep, at most, and to cover the hole before leaving the beach.