POMPANO BEACH (CBS4) – A member of the Austrian National Swim Team was treated and released from a Deerfield Beach after he was serious injured Sunday during a trip to Pompano Beach.
It happened in the sand along 100 North Ocean Boulevard. Pompano Beach Fire Rescue spokesperson Sandra King said 19 year-old Jakub Maly was taking a break from practice with his teammates.
For fun, they dug a hole in the sand about the size of a grave, 7 feed deep and 6 feet wide, and then jumped in.
“We were at the beach, it was our last day and we said we should make a hole,” Maly said.
The sand was unstable, however, and the hole collapsed around him, trapping Maly inside.
“I jumped into the hole and the whole sand comes over me and I didn’t get out,” Maly said.
“The walls started breaking and it was just his feet and then after a few minutes, more sand fell down up to his neck, and then up to his head,” said teammate Sebastian Stoss. “We tried to did his head free and I told the girls to get help.
Special rescue units were called in to help dig Maly out, and firefighters supplied him with oxygen while they worked, but it was a slow process in the shifting sand.
“Three times they scraped me out and the whole sand, it happened three times and I thought I could die,” Maly said.
Rescuers had to use construction vehicles to dig the sand out around him. Maly was completely immobilized by the sand, witnesses said.
“Obviously, 7 feet deep and 6 feet around is just amazing,” King said. “Basically, the only thing that came out was his head.”
It took almost 3 hours to get Maly out. He was then rushed to North Broward General Medical Center in critical condition.
King said the Austrian Olympic team has been training in South Florida since April.
Maly and his teammates returned to Austria Monday, but before they left, the team told CBS4’s Joan Murray the lesson from the experience was never dig themselves this deep into a hole again.