Family mourns 18-year-old killed in sand collapse on Jersey Shore beach

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Wednesday, May 18, 2022
Family mourns 18-year-old killed in Jersey shore sand collapse
A family is mourning their 18-year-old son who was killed in a freak accident on Jersey Shore beach Tuesday while on vacation with his family. Toni Yates has the details.

TOMS RIVER, New Jersey -- A family is mourning a 18-year-old who was killed in a freak accident on a Jersey Shore beach Tuesday while on vacation with his family.

Levi Caverly, of Maine, died after being trapped beneath a sand collapse in Toms River, while his 17-year-old sister was rescued.

On Wednesday morning, Levi's father, Todd Caverly, issued a statement remembering his son as a tech nut with a love of music.

"Levi was himself," dad Todd Caverly said in a statement Wednesday. "He was odd. He was quirky. He was not really concerned with what others thought. He knew Jesus Christ. He was involved in the worship team at church, and was the drummer in a teen/young adult worship band. He was a tech nut and loved to program. The truth is that Scripture says that all our days are numbered. That there is nothing we can do to add a single hour to our life. He knew that."

Police and emergency medical services were called just after 4 p.m. Tuesday to the barrier island beach entrance near Seaview Road for the report of two teens trapped in the sand.

The Toms River Police Department said Caverly and his sister were using frisbees to dig a 10-foot hole when it collapsed.

Emergency crews rushed in, including some from neighboring towns.

They used buckets of water, ladders, bulldozers and other heavy machinery in their effort to free the teens.

The 17-year-old sister was rescued and treated at the scene, police said, but Levi died in the collapse.

Authorities tell ABC News they have seen dozens of similar cases over the last few decades in states like California, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and North Carolina.

Just this past weekend, a 13-year-old was killed after being trapped under sand at the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park in Utah.

Park rangers believed the 13-year-old was digging a tunnel into the side of a sand dune.

Authorities said the general rule is to not dig a hole that is deeper than your knees.

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