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Teen Survives Being Buried Alive in Sand Tunnel

A teen was buried alive for half an hour on Newport Beach after he dug a tunnel in the sand and it caved in on top of him.

A crowd of about 40 beachgoers attempted to dig out 17-year-old Matt Mina when he was buried under seven feet of sand. A crowd surrounded him and dozens of people frantically tried to dig him out, using shovels and whatever else they had on hand, but sand kept pouring back into the hole.

Firefighters showed up to the scene and managed to dig Mina out. He was unconscious when they removed him from the hole, but he survived, and just a day after the accident, he's conscious and talking about his ordeal.

The accident happened at about 3:40pm yesterday: Mina had dug a seven-foot tunnel underneath the sand when the tunnel collapsed on him, burying him in sand. He and his friends had been digging two tunnels, and they were attempting to make them meet under the sand. A family member raised the alarm, calling a lifeguard, and then the crowds moved in to help. Once Mina was rescued, the crowd on the beach cheered. Mina was rushed to Orange County's Hoag Hospital.

Mina said he screamed for help under the sand, and moved his head from side to side to make an air bubble so he could breathe. His hands were pinned by the weight of the sand. "I was falling in and out [of consciousness]," he told reporters. "I thought I was going to die. I want to thank everyone who helped me stay alive. I wanted to give a shout out to them and say thank you."

Mina said he wouldn't be digging tunnels in the sand again any time soon.


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