The dangers of sand


A man in Israel digs a hole in the sand. This is apparently more dangerous than it looks. (Oded Balilty — Associated Press)

I know Rehoboth Beach is not in Maryland but it’s close enough, and this item is (strangely) a matter of public health to beachgoers everywhere.

Sand, it seems, can nearly kill you.

Delmarvanow.com reports:

A man attempting to connect two 6-foot holes through an underground tunnel was resuscitated by emergency medical technicians and rushed to Beebe Medical Center.

According to Rehoboth Beach Patrol Capt. Kent Buckson, the incident emphasized the lack of awareness most beachgoers have about the dangers of sand.

“Digging a hole is one thing; to play in the sand and dig a little bit -- that’s a day at the beach,” Buckson said. “Trying to connect a tunnel is absolutely not the thing to be doing. You have to use care and judgment and safety. We’re not going to be able to stop everyone from digging a hole out there. They just need to use good common sense and be safe and not dig deep holes with trenches.”

The 24-year-old man was hospitalized, but his current condition is unknown.

Nobody on the beach can remember a digging incident that went so badly south as this one, and I suppose that’s good news considering that as many as 500 people dig holes in Rehoboth Beach each summer. This gives lifeguards more to worry about than just the water, the report said:

Lifeguards try to catch holes before they surpass 2 feet in depth, but it’s difficult to effectively monitor activity in the water and on the sand.

“Our guards are on chairs looking north to south, south to north,” Buckson said.

“We have chairs 400 yards apart. You have areas where you can’t see if there are holes being dug unless you’re actually looking. How do you police that?”

I have no idea, but perhaps this nearly tragic story will convince beachgoers to ditch all the digging. The beach is not a construction zone.

Michael Rosenwald is a reporter on the Post's local enterprise team. He writes about the intersection of technology, business and culture.

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