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May 18, 2022

18-year-old dies on Toms River beach after hole he and sister dug in sand collapsed on them

Authorities said the siblings had excavated 10 feet; the girl, 17, was rescued

Investigations Accidents
Toms River Sand Teen Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

Levi Caverly, 18, of Union, Maine, died Tuesday in Toms River, New Jersey after a sand hole collapsed on him and his sister.

An 18-year-old died Tuesday afternoon after he became trapped in a hole he had dug with his sister in the sand on a Toms River beach, authorities said. 

Levi Caverly, of Union, Maine, was visiting the barrier island in New Jersey with his 17-year-old sister. They used frisbees to dig about 10 feet deep in an area near the beach entrance on Seaview Road, authorities said. The sand collapsed on them and Caverly became fully buried. His sister was covered up to her chest. 

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Emergency crews from several neighboring towns in Ocean County assisted in the rescue effort using heavy machinery, buckets of water and ladders to try to get Caverly free. His sister was treated at the scene.

"Levi was himself," the teen's father, Todd Caverly, wrote Wednesday on Facebook. "He was odd. He was quirky. He was not real 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 incident comes after a 13-year-old boy died last weekend when he became trapped in a hole he had dug at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park in Utah.

Authorities advise beachgoers not to digging holes deeper than knee-height to avoid potential accidents.