A hat and some fingers were all that was visible of a teenager after the hole he was digging at a Rhode Island beach collapsed in on him Tuesday night. Hours later, rescuers pulled him from up from the brink of death.
James Boyden, 17, of Scotland, Connecticut, who was spending the day with his family, had been digging for hours at East Beach in Charleston, R.I., when the walls of his 8-foot hole fell in on him.
Police and rescue crews from Charlestown and nearby communities began arriving on the scene at around 7:30 p.m. After clearing away enough sand to get an oxygen mask on the boy's face, they began to dig furiously.
After more than two and a half hours, the boy, whose name was not made public, was lifted out of the hole. He was breathing and alert when he was taken to Rhode Island Hospital via helicopter, witnesses told NBC 10. The teen was doing well Wednesday and is up and walking around, his father told police. He has been released from the hospital.
The young man's brush with death is all too common, according to a 2007 report from the New England Journal of Medicine. It turns out that sand is far deadlier than sharks. Between 1990 and 2006, a total of 16 Americans were buried to death by sand, while only 12 were killed by sharks.