Austrian Swimmer Trapped As Sand Collapses At Pompano Beach

POMPANO BEACH (CBSMiami) – A member of the Austrian National Swim Team was seriously injured Sunday night during a trip to the beach on the team’s day off. Police say he dug a deep hole in the sand, jumped in, and to the horror of those around him, the hole collapsed.

The scene unfolded on Pompano Beach Sunday evening, in the sand along 100 North Ocean Boulevard. Pompano Beach Fire Rescue spokesperson Sandra King said the 19 year-old man taking a break from practice with the team dug a hole about the size of a grave, 7 feed deep and 6 feet wide, and then jumped in.

The sand was unstable, and after he jumped in, King said the hole collapsed around him, trapping him inside.

Special rescue units were called in to help dig the man out, and firefighters supplied him with oxygen while they worked, but it was a slow process in the shifting sand. Rescuers had to use construction vehicles to dig the sand out around the trapped man.

“Obviously, 7 feet deep and 6 feet around is just amazing,” King said. “Basically, the only thing that came out was his head.”

The man was completely immobilized by the sand, witnesses said.

King said the man apparently started digging the hole for fun, as members of his swim team looked on. Then, he jumped in, and things went terribly wrong.

“His friends tried to get him out,” King said, “his coach tried to get him out, but they could not get him out and he could not move.”

Witnesses say it took almost 3 hours to get the man out of the sand, and about 8:30, he was rushed to North Broward General Medical Center in critical condition. His name was not immediately available, but his friends, who gathered at the hospital, said they believe he will be OK after treatment.

  • Jimbo99

    Fortunate, he lived. i recall as a kid growing up that the neighbors idiots built tunnels in a vacant lot in the neighborhood. Well nothing collapsed which was fortunate, but a kid did get hit in the head, requiring stitches, with a shovel that was used to dig the tunnels.

  • TwanTru

    Was he smoking marijuana or is that only the American athletes?

    • Mr Dude

      Let Arnold answer that

  • Sheri Anne

    I hope he swims better then the way he uses his commen sense.

    • Mr Dude

      Swimming may not be in his future anymore if those injuries are severe. However, he can open his own business digging graves in places where there are a lot of old retirees or young people who are victims of their own stupid doing

  • mimi

    Hey Twan Tru, not all American athletes smoke pot, i resent you saying that are u against Americans? The important thing is that he is o.k.

    • TwanTru

      Chill mimi, I am American and yeah I know quite a few athletes. I work with them.

      Maybe you are unaware but some of the biggest players smoke and do other stuff. Cocaine is popular.

      I am def glad the swimmer is okay.

      I’m just talking from my own experience – some of these guys get stoned and do a lot of foolish and sometimes horrible things.

  • Bonez

    he ain’t the first …and he won’t be the last to learn the hard way what obsessiveness about digging a “SHOW OFF” hole in sand can lead to~ get well soon /never do it again !

  • Caly

    My dad was working at the closest tower and was the first to help dig his head out. Thanks Daddy!!!!

  • Kevin

    I live in Pompano & knew nothing of this. I’m glad the young man is not seriously injured. Digging a hole & jumping in it. It almost killed him. Wow. I wouldn’t have done that. I grew up on the beach, I know better. Then again, this kid is from Austria,a land locked country. This kid was just having fun & didn’t realize the danger he was putting himself in. Common, let’s hear um. What’s that thing you look back on & say “wow, that was really stupid of me, I’ll never do that again”
    I’ll start it off……When I was younger, I dove into a kiddy pool head first thinking it was an 8 deep pool.
    I wish you all well.

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