LIFEGUARDS assisted by beach-goers using kiddies’ spades dug frantically to free a 13-year-old boy who became trapped in sand at Aberporth’s Dolwen Beach at lunchtime yesterday.

Coastguards and a tender from the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue  raced to the scene after the alarm was raised at 1.30pm.

It is understood the teenager had been digging a large hole near the sea wall when he became buried up to his neck as the sides caved in.

Once the alarm was raised lifeguards Menna Phillips and Will Brice, helped by members of the public, battled grimly to free the terrified youngster.

"Menna and Will were down by the water's edge when someone shouted someone was stuck in a hole at the top of the beach," one eyewitness told the Tivy-Side.

"Menna assumed someone had broken a leg or something, but when she got there all she could see of the lad was the top of his head and eyes."

Another onlooker said: “The more they tried to reach him the more sand fell in on top of him – it was a very, very scary situation.

“I saw some holidaymakers trying to free the boy with beach spades – it was a fantastic response from both the lifeguards and the public.

“The boy was very lucky the incident didn’t happen in the evening when the beach would have been deserted.”

Cllr Gethin Davies, who lives a short distance from the beach, said what happened was a warning to all parents.

“People don’t really appreciate the dangers of digging large holes in sand,” he said. “There have been fatalities in the past.

“This was a narrow escape, make no mistake – I was told that when the alarm was raised only the tips of the boy’s fingers could be seen above the sand.”

An RNLI spokesperson confirmed two lifeguards patrolling the beach were alerted by a member of the public that a young boy had fallen into a hole.
"One of the lifeguards grabbed a trauma bag while the second went to assess the situation," she said.

"The red and yellow flags were dropped, but an off-duty lifeguard remained on the water’s edge.
"Arriving with the casualty, the lifeguards observed that the boy was in the hole where the sand had collapsed on him covering most of his body.

"One of the lifeguards proceeded to help members of the public carefully dig the sand away before getting a rescue tube down to the casualty in the event it was needed.

"After 20 minutes, the casualty was freed from the hole where he was then assessed by the lifeguards before being handed over into the care of paramedics."