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Parents of teen killed in Jersey Shore sand collapse pay tribute in touching statements

The parents of a teenager who died in a freak accident on the Jersey shore have paid tribute to him with moving statements, saying he was a devout Christian with a “peculiar” personality.

Levi Caverly, 18, and his 17-year-old sister were digging a deep hole on the beach in Toms River, New Jersey, when the sand collapsed, killing Levi and trapping his sister, who was rescued alive.

The family was visiting the coast from their home in Union, Maine, where Levi graduated from high school last year.

Levi was himself. He was weird. He was quirky. He wasn’t really worried about what others thought. He knew Jesus Christ,’ the teen’s father, Todd Caverley, said in a statement on Facebook.

‘I was involved in the worship team at church, and I was the drummer in a teen and young adult worship band. He was a techie and loved to code,” the devastated father added.

Levi Caverly, 18, and his 17-year-old sister were digging a deep hole on the beach in Toms River, New Jersey, when the sand collapsed, killing Levi and trapping his sister.

Levi Caverly, 18, and his 17-year-old sister were digging a deep hole on the beach in Toms River, New Jersey, when the sand collapsed, killing Levi and trapping his sister.

In New Jersey, 18-year-old Levy Caverley and his 17-year-old sister, both from Maine, were trapped when a 10-foot hole they had dug fell onto a beach in Toms River.

In New Jersey, 18-year-old Levy Caverley and his 17-year-old sister, both from Maine, were trapped when a 10-foot hole they had dug fell onto a beach in Toms River.

The teenager's parents, Todd and Angela, paid tribute to him with moving statements, saying he was a devout Christian with a personality

The teenager’s parents, Todd and Angela, paid tribute to him with moving statements, saying he was a devout Christian with a “peculiar” personality.

‘The truth is that the Scripture says that all our days are numbered. That there is nothing we can do to add a single hour to our lives. He knew it,’ he said.

Levi’s mother, Angela Caverly, said NJ.com that she is finding solace in her religion and in the rescuers who frantically tried to rescue her son.

“We had a lot of people trying to help and we’re very grateful for that,” he told the outlet. ‘We know that he is with Jesus and he smiles at us.’

Angela Caverley said her family was driving back to Maine on Wednesday afternoon to be closer to her church congregation.

‘Physically, my daughter is fine. She is helping us get home right now,” she said.

He said the family had rented a Toms River house for a beach vacation and had spent most of Tuesday afternoon on the shore before the fatal accident.

1652937617 824 Parents of teen killed in Jersey Shore sand collapse pay

“I know it’s so silly, but this was his favorite picture,” Levi’s mom said of this photo.

Levi was himself.  He was weird.  He was quirky.  He wasn't really worried about what others thought.  He knew Jesus Christ,' the teen's father said.

Levi was himself. He was weird. He was quirky. He wasn’t really worried about what others thought. He knew Jesus Christ,’ the teen’s father said.

‘This was our first time (at Toms River). We came here to try and have a family vacation,” she said.

The grieving mother said she did not regret coming to New Jersey. ‘It is what it is. You can’t change it.

The tragedy unfolded around 4:09 p.m. Tuesday, when several police and EMS units were dispatched to the beach entrance near Seaview Road to receive reports of two teenagers trapped in the sand.

They successfully rescued the 17-year-old girl and treated her at the scene. Her brother’s body was removed from the arena around 6:45 p.m.

The brothers had spent the afternoon with their family at the Ocean Beach III.

Toms River Mayor Maurice Hill Jr. said the hole had been dug with Frisbees.

Levi's parents (above) and his sister returned to Maine on Wednesday to be closer to their church congregation for support.

Levi’s parents (above) and his sister returned to Maine on Wednesday to be closer to their church congregation for support.

Aerial footage captured by Fox 5 New York showed a team of rescuers working around a large hole on a New Jersey beach Tuesday night.

A red screen was placed to cover the gap from the public while dozens of people worked on the spot. A yellow bulldozer was shown parked next to the hole, while a fire engine also pulled up a little further away.

The area had been cordoned off with yellow tape, and the footage appeared to have been captured as work was being completed on the site.

It showed firefighters and other first responders pulling wooden planks out of the pit, around which a variety of equipment was strewn on the ground.

Sand collapses: how to avoid them and rescue trapped people

According to Harvard researcher Bradley Maron, 60 percent of sand slides are fatal, CBS reported.

When digging holes in the sand, make them no deeper than the knees of the smallest person in the hole.

The most effective way to rescue someone trapped in the sand is for fewer people to dig.

Several people digging can cause a major collapse. Ideally, one person would be digging and the other would be moving the sand under the trapped person.

Source: CBS

In a separate incident in Utah, 13-year-old Ian Spendlove was initially rescued from a sand slide on Saturday by Kane County Sheriff’s deputies and park rangers.

They found him with a pulse and gave him cardiopulmonary resuscitation. The boy was transported to a St. George hospital and then to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City.

Ian died Sunday after failing to regain brain activity, the Utah Division of State Parks Department said.

He was from Santa Clara, a small town about 65 miles (105 kilometers) from Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park.

Campers and ATV drivers flock to the park near the Utah-Arizona border for the vibrant hue of its warm pink sand, which is made of weathered Navajo sandstone.

Devan Chavez, a spokesman for the parks agency, said he was not aware of any similar incidents at Coral Pink Sand Dunes, but in 2012, another teen died after becoming trapped under a collapsed sand dune at Snow Canyon State Park. about 50 miles northwest.

Saturday’s dune collapse remains under investigation. Rangers said it happened quickly and they didn’t know how long the boy had been buried.

Chavez offered his condolences to Spendlove’s family and urged visitors to be safe, wear helmets or life jackets and alert others to recreation plans when in state parks.

‘Always recreate with a friend or someone who can help you or go get help. And always let someone away from the area know where you’re going and what your plan is,’ he said.

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