12-year-old boy hospitalized after sand hole caves in

June 10, 2024

The pedestrian area Silver Lake Sand Dunes

Boy ‘unresponsive and not breathing’ after sand hole caves in

GOLDEN TOWNSHIP — A 12-year-old Petoskey boy remains hospitalized after a 5-foot-deep sand hole caved in on him, burying him in the sand at the Silver Lake Dunes Sunday evening June 9, according to Oceana County Undersheriff Ryan Schiller.

“On Sunday at 7:39 p.m., we received a call for a person who was trapped in the sand dunes at the Silver Lake State Park pedestrian area,” said Undersheriff Ryan Schiller in a press release Monday. 

“A 12-year-old Petoskey boy was playing in the dunes with his 8-year-old brother. The two boys were originally racing their RC cars on the dunes until they ran out of batteries. The boys then were playing in the sand, digging holes and burying each other. They had dug a hole that was about 5 feet deep when the hole collapsed on the 12-year-old boy. The brother who witnessed what had just occurred yelled for help, and the parents who were there immediately began calling for help and digging. 

“Our Golden Township deputy was on duty and responded to the scene, arriving within two minutes from the time of call,” said Schiller. “The responding deputy said when he arrived, the family was actively trying to get the young man out, but he was not visible at all. Fire, EMS, DNR and bystanders all played a part in getting this young man out of the sand. 

“When the young man was extricated from the sand dunes, he was unresponsive and not breathing. EMS and fire personnel did an amazing job caring for this child. Corwell Health AeroMed was requested by EMS personnel early in the call and responded to our designated Silver Lake landing zone. 

“The North Shore Drive turnaround is a popular location for visitors to climb the sand dunes on foot. At the turnaround location, the grade to the dunes is extremely steep. 

“This incident did not involve a sinkhole or any other type of sand phenomenon. There is no danger to the public in traversing the pedestrian area of the sand dunes. 

“As of June 10, 2024, the young man is still being treated at DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids. We hope that this young man recovers fully and will be out playing with his brother again soon.”

The boy and his family were visiting relatives who live in the area. 

“We are very thankful for our partnerships with all of the agencies who responded. This was a difficult scene and everyone did a fantastic job. 

“We were assisted at the scene by Mason-Oceana 911, Michigan DNR Parks and Recreation, Life EMS, Hart Area Fire Department, Oceana County Sheriff’s Office Victim Services Unit and the Michigan State Police — Hart Post.”

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