NEWPORT BEACH, Calif., Aug. 5 (UPI) — Emergency responders in California said a teenager who spent more than 30 minutes trapped in a collapsed sand hole was rescued uninjured.
The Newport Beach Fire Department said the boy and a group of friends were attempting to dig a tunnel in the sand at the beach Wednesday when the walls of the tunnel collapsed, trapping him 5 to 7 feet below the surface, CNN reported Thursday.
The teenager, Matt Mina, 17, told NBC’s “Today” show Thursday he feared he was “going to die.”
“I was just really scared. I didn’t know if anyone could hear me when I was screaming for help,” he said.
Mina told NBC he was able to breathe while underground.
“I threw my head around, trying to make some room because my arms were kind of behind me,” the teenager said. “I pretty much made some wiggle room — I had a little pocket of air.”
Video taken of the incident depicts some 40 people, including firefighters, beach-goers and three search-and-rescue teams, digging to reach Mina, MSNBC.com reported.
The fire department said the rescue took more than 30 minutes. Mina was checked out at a hospital and found to be uninjured.
“The Newport Beach Fire Department would like to remind beach-goers that large holes dug in the sand can be very unstable and have in the past caused severe injuries and deaths,” the fire department said in a release.