A teen digging on a New Jersey beach died Tuesday, and his younger sister was rescued after police say both out-of-towners became trapped beneath the sand when the hole collapsed on top of them.
The Toms River Police Department said officers and EMS units were dispatched at approximately 4:09 p.m. to the beach entrance near Seaview Road on the barrier island for reports of two teens trapped in the sand. Levy Caverley, 18, of Maine, tragically died in the collapse, while his 17-year-old sister, whose name has not been released, was rescued and treated at the scene, police said.
According to the department’s Facebook post explaining what happened, the family was "visiting from out of town and spent the afternoon at the beach."
The teens "were reportedly digging a large hole when it collapsed and trapped both of them," police said.
The Asbury Park Press reported that the incident happened Ocean Beach III, a private beach community near Chadwick Beach, and Toms River Mayor Maurice "Mo" Hill Jr. described how the hole was deep and dug out with Frisbees. The 17-year-old was the first pulled from the hole, while crews did not retrieve Caverley’s body from the sand until approximately 6:45 p.m.
Emergency crews from neighboring towns also responded to the scene to assist in rescue efforts.
The agencies that assisted at the scene included: Silverton EMS, Toms River EMS, Toms River Fire Companies, Toms River Fire Technical Rescue Team, Lavallette Fire Company, Lavallette Police Department, Lavallette Public Works, Seaside Heights Fire Company, Toms River Police Detective Bureau, Ocean County Sheriff CIU, and the Ocean County Prosecutors Office.
According to the newspaper, this is not the first time people have gotten trapped in collapse holes on beaches in the area. In July 2020, Belmar police said an 8-year-old boy became trapped in an eight-foot hole, and rescue crews called in managed to pull him to safety. In August 2015, a 12-year-old boy was air lifted to the hospital after a hole he was digging on a beach in Surf City collapsed on him.