18-Year-Old Dies In Sand Collapse After Digging Hole On Beach, Police Say

“We came to try to have a family vacation," the mother of the teen said of the tragedy that happened in Toms River, New Jersey.
New Jersey shoreline.
New Jersey shoreline.
Robert D. Barnes via Getty Images

A family from Maine is mourning the death of their teenage son who was killed after he and his sister dug a hole on a New Jersey beach and became trapped under the sand.

Levi Caverly, 18, and his 17-year-old sister were on a family vacation in Toms River on Tuesday when the siblings decided to use frisbees to dig a 10-foot hole that collapsed. The tragic incident occurred around 4 p.m., ABC news channel WPVI reported.

“[The] teens were reportedly digging a large hole when it collapsed and trapped both of them,” Toms River Police Department posted in a statement on Facebook.

The siblings were buried several feet under the sand; Levi Caverly was completely submerged and his sister was buried up to her chest.

Emergency crews from Toms River and neighboring towns worked for hours to free the teens using buckets of water, ladders, bulldozers and other heavy machinery. The 17-year-old sister was rescued and treated at the scene, but Levi Caverly died in the collapse. His body was recovered around 7 p.m.

The teens’ mother, Angela Caverly, told NJ.com that her daughter is physically doing “OK.”

“This was our first time [in Toms River]. We came to try to have a family vacation,” she said, adding that she does not regret coming to New Jersey. “It is what it is. You can’t change it.”

Angela Caverly said her son played drums in a band and was teaching himself how to code.

Toms River Mayor Maurice B. “Mo” Hill said in a statement that the incident occurred during the “off-season,” otherwise there would have been lifeguards who typically stop people from digging deep holes on the beach.

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