Police: 18-year-old killed, sister injured while digging hole at Jersey Shore beach
Police in Toms River say an 18-year-old man was killed and his teenage sister was injured when they became trapped in sand that collapsed while they were digging a hole at a Toms River beach.
Authorities say that the teens are from Maine and were visiting the Jersey Shore with their family.
Township police officers and emergency medical services personnel were called to the beach near the entrance on Seaview Road Tuesday just after 4 p.m. The beach is known as Ocean Beach III, a private beach community near Chadwick Beach.
News 12 is told the hole was very deep, dug out with Frisbees and that it collapsed with both inside.
The 17-year-old girl was rescued, but emergency crews couldn't pull her brother, Levi Caverley, out of the sand until around 6:45 p.m. when it was too late to save him.
"The beach took a beating, the nor'easters are pretty rough, it was really soft, what we call sugar sand," says Chief Drew Calvo, with the Ocean Beach Fire Company. "It makes it very challenging to get equipment up there, it makes it challenging for us to respond to any type of water rescue, so it's not an easy situation when that happens."
Caverley's father, Todd Caverly, wrote a Facebook post honoring his son. He said he wrote it specifically for the media.
“Levi was himself. 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,” Todd Caverly wrote. “The truth is that Scripture says that all our days are numbered. That there is nothing we can do to add a single hour to our life. He knew that. Matthew 6:25-34”
It's not the first time a collapse has occurred on the beaches of Ocean or Monmouth counties. Belmar police, lifeguards, rescuers and firefighters saved a boy from a collapsed sand hole in July 2020. In August 2015, lifeguards and bystanders pulled a 12-year-old boy out of a collapsed hole in Surf City.
No lifeguards were on duty at the time as lifeguards do not start guarding the beaches until Memorial Day weekend.
Officials say that they want to remind beachgoers to be very careful when digging in the sand and to never dig too deep.