Written by M. B.
Edited by Toni Borkowski
More than 40 people die a year from it. It is not the statistic for drowning, but from sand holes on the beach. How can sand be dangerous you ask?
On Saturday, August 30, lifeguards were minutes away from closing the beach, when a patron ran over to a lifeguard, frantic. A sand hole had collapsed on top of a girl and she was under the sand. This was not a common rescue situation for our guards but they responded quickly and effectively. They knew time was of the essence. When they arrived on the scene, only the top of the victim’s head and one hand were sticking out of the sand, approximately four feet below the surface. Her nose and mouth were covered.
A parent was trying to dig her daughter’s face out, but armed with shovels, senior lifeguards took over the situation and set up a course of immediate action. Lifeguards Tyson, Appel, O’Connor, Valencia and Roarke kept all patrons away from the hole due to fears that the hole would collapse in on the victim.
“We wanted to make sure that no one, would get closer to the edge to further jeopardize the stability of its wall,” said Roarke.
At the same time Lifeguards Gorman, Cuomo, Borkowski and Viera were digging the girl out of the sand. Viera, 28-year-veteran of Smith Point, started to dig an adjacent hole to help the victim out. Borkowski and Cuomo were right behind him to push the sand out of the way, while Gorman was navigating parents, lifeguards and patrons.
With the cooperation of the parents and patrons, along with the tireless efforts of the lifeguards, the victim was freed, safe and sound, within 7 minutes. Everyone clapped and cheered. “This was the scariest thing I have seen in my tenure as a Smith Point Lifeguard,” said Viera.
A beautiful day at the beach could turn tragic in a blink of an eye. Please, listen and follow the rules and regulations; they are there to protect you and keep you safe.
*** Sand hole – It is simply a hole that people dig and jump into for fun which may collapse ***
And remember … always swim near a lifeguard – we are trained professionals!