Officials say a 19-year-old exchange student from South Korea suffocated when a sand pit collapsed on him during a Southern California beach party for incoming students.

Coroner's investigator Craig Stevens told the Ventura County Star on Thursday that Mingyu "Paul" Sang died Wednesday from asphyxia with suffocation. The death was ruled an accident.

Provost Mark Tatlock says Sang was an incoming freshman at The Master's College, which is a small Christian college in Santa Clarita. Classes begin there Monday.

Students and staff were attending an orientation event on a beach in Oxnard when they dug a hole that was 6 to 8 feet deep. Sang had climbed inside when it collapsed and buried him.

Tatlock says Sang was from Seoul but had lived in Santa Clarita for several years.