North Carolina officials ask visitors to stop leaving huge holes on beach

SURF CITY, N.C. — Most people enjoy digging holes in the sand when visiting the beach. Officials in a North Carolina coastal town are asking visitors to use some restraint.

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In a Facebook post on Saturday, the Town of Surf City Fire Department posted a photograph of a huge hole on the beach.

“The picture does not do it justice,” the post reads. “It was a very large hole.”

Digging holes in the sand at Surf City is acceptable, but officials said that holes more than a foot deep need to be filled in to prevent people and wildlife from falling into them when the sun sets.

Some of the comments on the Facebook post suggested that the hole was actually a sinkhole, but fire officials quickly dismissed that.

“High tide is the reason you don’t see all the sand that was dug out,” the fire department wrote. “Our ocean rescue guys and firefighters filled the hole. You could tell someone dug the hole.”

Digging deep holes present dangers to beachgoers. In May, a teenager died after being trapped under several feet of sand farther to the northeast at Cape Hatteras National Seashore, WVEC-TV reported. The hole was dug in a back-dune area behind a primary dune and not visible from the beachfront, according to the television station.

“Digging holes at the beach seems like an absolute no-brainer,” Tom Gill, chief of the Virginia Beach Lifesaving Service, told WVEC. “Bring your shovels and your buckets, but there is absolutely a limit.”

In May 2022, an 18-year-old man died while playing with his sister at a New Jersey beach when the large hole they were digging in the sand caved in, The Associated Press reported.

“We want everyone to have a safe and fun time while they are on the beach but if you dig a hole please fill it back in for your safety, other people’s safety, and the sea turtles that visit our beach at night,” the Town of Surf City Fire Department wrote on Facebook.

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