A 12-year-old boy has died Thursday after being hospitalized for injuries sustained when a sand tunnel collapsed and crushed him along a New Jersey beach.
Emergency personnel rushed to the scene at Long Branch Beach on Tuesday, just one hour south of New York City, to respond to an emergency call.
Lt. Frank Morey said the boy dug the tunnel with his younger brother, who rushed to tell his mother what had happened before 911 was called.
Rescuers freed the unconscious child from the sand and he was rushed to a nearby hospital. He was bleeding from the nose and received CPR from lifeguards. He was breathing as he arrived to Monmouth Medical Center.
Despite high hopes for his recovery in the intensive care unit, the child died Wednesday afternoon, Long Branch Police Capt. Jason Roebuck told Asbury Park Press.
"We were sitting on the beach, looking at the ocean, and we saw someone jump with a shovel, who ran over to the little boy," said Iris Tergola of Staten Island who witnessed the tragic incident, according to Delaware Online.
"I didn't know if he was alive at that time or not," recounted Tergola.
The tunnel was six feet long and two to three feet below the surface.
On Twitter, many people are responding to the sad news of the child's tragic death.
"Sad sad - no more tunnels for Lexie," posted Jenn.
Some users criticized the boy's mother for not being more weary of sand tunnels.
"Sad news… Common sense (directed at parent of the kid, not the kid)… sand is unstable," posted Bobby.
Most users, though, offered their condolences to the family of the 12-year-old.
To make matters worse, at the time the emergency crews arrived on the scene at Long Branch, Richard Polasdas of Lakewood, Colo. was struck by a firetruck rushing to the sand tunnel incident, according to Fox. He suffered a broken hip.
The pedestrian was carrying his four-year-old daughter, who fortunately was unharmed.
The firetruck was traveling at a low speed and had its flashing lights and sirens on at the time of the accident, according to NJ.com.