Officials warn of beach dangers
LINCOLN CITY, Ore. -- First responders in Lincoln City are looking to beef up their educational efforts after a tragic accident killed a 9-year-old girl Friday afternoon.
It happened on one of the most popular beach spots in the coastal town. Now a makeshift memorial honors the little girl, Isabel Grace Franks, who lost her life when the sand collapsed onto her in a deep hole she was apparently playing in.
Debbie Kohl from Portland watched the tragic scene unfold from her motel room overlooking the beach.
"Everybody was just digging and digging frantically and then a first responder jumped down into the hole and it took between 5 and 10 minutes to get her up," said Kohl.
Jeremy Ruark is the editor of the Lincoln City News Guard, the local newspaper. He arrived on the scene just moments after the call went out at 5:13 p.m. Friday. He said the hole the child was playing in was really deep.
"I could see one of the first responders who was about 6 feet tall jump into the hole so he was nearly gone, I believe it had to be at least 5 or 6 feet deep," said Ruark.
Captain Jim Kusz was one of those first responders who tried everything to save the little girl's life.
"There were good Samaritans helping to dig out this poor little 9 year old from the soft, dry sand, and once we got her out we cleared her passageways of sand and started CPR," said Kusz.
She was rushed to the hospital, but all efforts to revive her failed.
This tragedy really hit the mostly volunteer first responders hard. They spent much of Saturday raising money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association's fill-a-boot campaign, but their minds remained on what happened and what they can do to beef up educational efforts.
"From sneaker waves to logs in the surf, we promote beach safety all the time, but these sand collapses are something we're going to have to address," said Kusz.
Sand collapses are more common in California, where the sand is much drier, than on the Oregon coast. However, our extra-dry summer has created sand conditions very similar to California.