Safety tips from Fort Myers Beach if you dig holes in the sand

Reporter: Elizabeth Biro
Published: Updated:

Beach days are meant to be fun, but a young girl is dead and a boy is in the hospital after the sand they were playing in collapsed under them near Fort Lauderdale.

They dug a hole about five feet deep before collapsing.

Most parents feel that water is the most dangerous part of the beach, forgetting how hazardous sand can be.

The West Coast of Florida isn’t as highly elevated as the East Coast. That means holes can’t be dug as deep before you’re stopped by water. Nevertheless, those holes can go deep enough to be dangerous.

“I was a little bit over-protective with them,” said Barbara Badolato, a woman who raised her kids on the beach.

She and her husband, Joe Badolato, have had a place on the beach since the 80s.

“I never would even let them walk to the water unless my husband and I were with them,” said Barbara.

Nevertheless, they didn’t think twice about dangerous sand until they heard what happened on Tuesday just north of Miami.

Flowers sit where a young brother and sister were trapped after the hole they dug collapsed in on them near the shoreline.

The young girl was completely covered, dying after she was asphyxiated by the sand.

Fort Myers Beach Patrol is taking steps to prevent anything like that from happening at our beaches.

“Down this beach earlier, between here and town hall, there’s already two there, were waist deep,” said Chadd Chustz, the Fort Myers Beach environmental project manager.

WINK News saw kids filling holes dug earlier at the beach and then gave their families some advice.

“Sorry to spoil the fun, but this has happened, it is a worry. And definitely try and definitely fill in your hole,” said Chustz.

Sand can collapse at any time. It’s important to know that the deeper the hole gets, the bigger the risk becomes.

West Coast beaches have a very low elevation, and it’s even lower because of erosion at the hands of Hurricane Ian. But the environmental manager of Fort Myers Beach told WINK News you can dig four or five feet deep before hitting water, and that’s deep enough to be concerning.

The advice is no more than knee-deep to be absolutely safe.

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