‘Massive hole’ in Outer Banks beach prompts warning for tourists to stop digging pits

·2 min read
Town of Kill Devil Hills photo

A pit the size of a grave was found on a popular Outer Banks beach, prompting warnings that passersby are at high risk of being seriously hurt or killed by falls and cave-ins.

The discovery in Kill Devil Hills was announced May 17, the same day two siblings were trapped when a hole caved in on a New Jersey beach. An 18-year-old died before rescuers could reach him, according to the Toms River Police Department.

Kill Devil Hills posted the warning with a photo showing the “massive hole” was big enough to hold the town’s ocean rescue supervisor.

“Digging holes on the beach and leaving them unattended is extremely dangerous. ... You are far more likely to experience a sand hole collapse than shark attack,” town officials wrote.

“No one goes to the beach thinking that they will leave with a broken ankle or worse.”

First responders are among those most at risk, as they rush to emergencies on foot or in vehicles, town officials said.

Digging holes in beaches is not illegal in North Carolina, but Kill Devil Hills officials say only shallow holes are advised — adding that you should “always fill them in once you’re finished.”

In 2014, a Virginia tourist was killed when a hole caved in on a Hatteras Island beach in North Carolina, The Virginian-Pilot reported. The 49-year-old man “was tunneling between two holes about 6 feet deep when the sand above him collapsed,” the newspaper reported.

The teen who died this week in a New Jersey beach was identified as Levy Caverley of Maine, Toms River police said.

He was “digging a large hole” with his 17-year-old sister “when it collapsed and trapped both of them,” police said. She was pulled alive from the hole “and treated at the scene.”

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