Sand Rescue Was a “Miracle,” Dad Says

A Scotland teen is now talking about his ordeal

The teen who survived sand caving in on him Tuesday is not only up and walking, but he’s doing well enough to be out talking about it Friday.

James Boyden, 17, of Scotland, Connecticut, and his family were on NBC's Today Show Friday morning to talk about his miraculous rescue Tuesday night on a Rhode Island beach.

Boyden had been digging a hole on a beach in Charlestown, R.I.  and was sitting or crouching in it, when the sand started filling it back in and when a fun day at the beach turned into an emergency.

James’ mother. Renee, heard what happened, so she knew where her son’s head was, James’ dad, Kenneth Boyden, said.

“So I was able to get down in there and just dig as quickly as I could and it seemed my hands went right to his head. It was a miracle really, and I was able to clear his face,” Kenneth said. “When I first cleared his face, he opened his eyes and looked at me and said, ‘Thank you daddy,’” his father said.

That’s when the family felt there was hope. As Kenneth fought to keep James’ face clear, Renee cleared the sand from the top of the hole so it would not go back in and kept people away, fearful it would cave in. James’ brother Andrew ran for help.

“I was yelling at people, which is very unusual for me to do,” Renee said.

Mom and dad worked furiously at the sand for what felt like a half hour, they said. 

Emergency crews arrived and ordered everyone away from the hole.

“They did a really professional job. They really knew what they were doing,” Kenneth said. “It took awhile because they had to be very tender about what they were doing so it did not collapse.”

The family was reluctant to come forward because they did not want people to think they are bad parents, but they decided it was important to share their story.  

Reports have said the hold was 8-feet-deep, but Kenneth Boyden said that is exaggerated.

“It wasn’t as big of a hole as people are saying,” Kenneth said. “Little boys dig little holes, when you get to be a young man, you dig a young-man size hole, and he happened to be crouching down or sitting, or whatever happened, and it caved in.”

If James had been standing, there would have been no problem, his father said.

“Even a smaller hole can be very dangerous,” he said.

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