HURRICANE, Utah (ABC4) – Southern Utah park rangers say they believe 13-year-old Ian Spendlove of Santa Clara was digging a tunnel in the side of a sand dune at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, just outside of the campground area, when it unexpectedly collapsed with him inside. The boy was found under approximately six-and-a-half feet of sand.
“This is pretty rare, the biggest thing we do see is holes on the beach, so please cover those so someone’s not twisting their ankle or getting their machines stuck when they visit next,” says Trevor Behunin, the Assistant Park Manager at Sand Hollow State Park.
The temperature of the ground Tuesday, is reading at 125 degrees Fahrenheit, which can also pose a risk.
“Don’t let your kids bury their friends, we don’t like to see kids being buried up to their neck in sand, and lastly we don’t like them digging tunnels, they can crawl in there and something tragic can happen,” says Behunin.
As the weather heats up and Southern Utah’s state parks get busier, rangers want to remind people to be safe, especially on the sand dunes.
“On your HOVs you need an orange or red safety flag, it needs to be 8 feet off the ground of your machine. If you’re on a motorcycle, you can wear them on a helmet, just make sure they’re 18 inches above your head,” says Behunin.
And those under the age of 18 need to wear a DOT approved helmet.
“If you’re in a side by side, please wear your seatbelts, make sure your kids are in proper restraints, don’t let them sit in a seat, it’s similar to a car, put them in a proper restraint as well,” he says.
Rangers say when going off a sand dune, be cautious of steep drop-offs, as the wind changes the sand’s formation everyday.
For more on safety at state parks, visit stateparks.utah.gov.