HomeOutdoorsNewsGiant Sand Dune Collapses, Kills Teenager at Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Giant Sand Dune Collapses, Kills Teenager at Cape Hatteras National Seashore

by Jon D. B.
Cape Hatteras National Seashore
North Carolina, NC, Outer Banks, Hatteras Island, Buxton, Cape Hatteras National Seashore. (Photo by: Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

On May 6, Cape Hatteras National Seashore law enforcement rangers responded to a 911 call regarding a teenager trapped underneath several feet of sand.

Prior to rangers arriving on scene, family and friends of the teen went looking for him. He was found “buried under several feet of sand,” the NPS site reports in their media release.

The situation was “apparently caused by portions of the adjacent dune collapsing into the hole,” the park adds. Rangers worked with family members to extract the teen. Once he was out of the sand, CPR efforts followed alongside additional rescue efforts from Dare County Emergency Medical Services personnel and Hatteras Island Ocean Rescue staff.

“Unfortunately, resuscitation efforts were not successful,” the park cites, and the young man was pronounced dead on the scene. The incident remains under investigation.

Preliminary findings do indicate the teen dug the deep hole in a back-dune area behind a primary dune before 2 PM, May 6, 2023. This took place inside Cape Hatteras National Seashore in Frisco, North Carolina, approximately 0.10 mile east of off-road vehicle ramp 49. The hole the young man dug was not visible from the beachfront.

“Cape Hatteras National Seashore offers our condolences to his family and friends,” offers David Hallac, superintendent, National Parks of Eastern North Carolina.

In light of this tragic loss, “We urge visitors not to dig deep holes on the beach due to the danger they present to beachgoers and emergency response staff,” Hallac adds.

Further investigation would also correct the deceased’s age to 18-years-old. The young man was a Chesapeake, Virginia native. His name remains private while the investigation continues.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore Safety

Cape Hatteras National Seashore is a gorgeous area of the North Carolina shoreline, and has much to offer. But as with any NPS or outdoor adventure, planning ahead and staying informed is crucial. This helps “ensure a fun and safe trip for all,” the park says.

It is crucial on any seashore to be aware of your surroundings and watch for changes in the weather. Sand dunes pose specific hazards, however.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore asks that all visitors abide by the following:

“Do not dig deep holes in the sand. Holes can collapse and trap individuals, as well as cause hazards for emergency responders and impact endangered sea turtles. Holes should never be deeper than they are wide, never deeper than an individuals knees, and always filled back in after use.”

Cape Hatteras National Seashore

For more safety, see Cape Hatteras’ website here.