An 18-year-old has died after a sand dune collapsed on top of him in the Outer Banks in North Carolina, according to National Park Service officials.
The young adult from Chesapeake, Virginia, had reportedly become trapped in a hole in a back-dune area of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore in Frisco, North Carolina, Saturday. The area is behind the primary dune and is not visible from the beachfront.
Emergency crews responded to a 911 call around 2 p.m. after family and friends had gone looking for the teenager and found him buried under several feet of sand about 520 feet east of an off-road ramp. Officials said the adjacent dune appeared to have collapsed into the hole.
Park rangers as well as personnel from Dare County Emergency Medical Services and Hatteras Island Ocean Rescue helped to remove the teenager and performed CPR, but they were not successful in resuscitating him.
“Cape Hatteras National Seashore offers our condolences to his family and friends,” David Hallac, the superintendent of the National Parks of Eastern North Carolina, said in a news release. “We urge visitors not to dig deep holes on the beach due to the danger they present to beach goers and emergency response staff.”
The person was later identified as Chase Conyers, who went on a fishing trip with his family on the North Carolina coast.
“He’s going to be missed. He’s going to be missed so much by so many people,” Ryan Conyers said about the tragedy of his son. “He was one of a kind in so many special ways. He’s gone way too soon. He had so much more to give.”
Chase Conyers leaves behind grieving parents and three brothers who are coming to grips with their loss. He was engaged to be married.
“It’s just the thought of anybody having to go through this. It’s something so simple that could have been prevented if we were more aware,” Misty Meads said, the fiancé of Chase Conyers. “Just to get the awareness out there. It doesn’t take much to stay off the sand dunes.”
Officials had warned residents and tourist in the Outer Banks area not to dig deep holes in the wake of the tragedy.
“We urge visitors not to dig deep holes on the beach due to the danger they present to beach goers and emergency response staff,” the park service said in a statement.
In the investigation of the death of Chase Conyers, it was ruled that the collapse was accidental.
Conyers’ family and loved ones have set up a GoFundMe page for the funeral costs.
Produced in association with AccuWeather