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Monday
May092011

Austrian Swimmer Nearly Buried Alive in Sand Pit

Thinkstock Images/Getty Images(POMPANO BEACH, Fla.) -- To Austrian national swim team member Jakub Maly, it seemed like a good idea at the time: spend the day on Pompano Beach digging a huge pit, and then jump into it.

Turns out, sand pits 7-feet deep and 6-feet wide -- big enough to gobble up a Volkswagen -- are not that stable. The pit collapsed on the 19-year-old, covering him entirely. Friends scrambled towards him, frantically trying uncover his head.

They managed to get Maly's head above sand, and called for help. Maly had done such a thorough job excavating the hole, however, that it took a team of 60 rescuers two hours to extract him.

"It was the perfect hole, until he decided to jump into if for fun. Then the walls caved in on him," said Sandra King of Pompano Beach Fire Rescue.

Rescuers had to buttress the collapsing sand by building makeshift walls in the pit.

"I started breathing, just to get enough oxygen," said Maly. "I just thought, oh my God, what do I have to do now?" Did he think he was going to die? "Maybe after the first hour or so," said the Austrian.
King said Maly was in danger of being crushed by the pressure from the sand.

Maly was freed long after dark and carted off to a hospital and released in less time than it took rescuers to dig him out of his hole. The swimmer is fine and flew with the rest of his team back to Austria.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio