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'I Thought I Was Going to Die,' Buried Teen Tells 'Today'

Matt Mina was completely buried in sand Wednesday when a tunnel collapsed.

A 17-year-old who was buried in sand for about 30 minutes before being dug out and rushed to the hospital emerged from the incident unscathed, according to the Newport Beach Fire Department.

The teen, identified as Matt Mina in an interview with MSNBC's Today, and a friend had dug two 5- to 7-foot-deep holes in the sand near 54th Street, according to a news release. The two began tunneling toward each other. The tunnel collapsed and Mina was completely buried by sand, the release said.

"I thought I was going to die," Mina told Today, adding that he was fading in and out of consciousness. Mina went on to thank all the people who took part in rescuing him.

A family member alerted lifeguards while other beachgoers began trying to dig Mina out. Public safety personnel arrived and took over the digging. Mina was rescued from the hole after about 30 minutes of digging, the release said.

Mina was rushed to the hospital, but was uninjured in the incident, the release said.

"I can't believe he lived," said Skip Snead, who took video of the rescue. "We thought they were going to pull up a dead body."

Newport Beach fire, lifeguard and police personnel took part in the rescue, as well as fire units from Costa Mesa and Huntington Beach, the release said.

See the whole Today interview here.

CK August 04, 2011 at 07:46 AM
Some please post a picture of this!
ace August 04, 2011 at 04:22 PM
5 to 7 foot deep holes then they tried to tunnell. sned them to the mexican border..
Barbara De La Pena August 05, 2011 at 04:20 AM
Kudos to the people in the area, locals and visitors who began digging with child's beach shovels, buckets, or their hands to save this man. The police were just telling people to stand back, bu the lifeguards commanded a team of humanitarians who helped this man get out alive.
Gabriela Klein August 05, 2011 at 05:07 AM
Our family loves the beach, and Newport is our favorite. That said, does this need to be posted for people to know that sand will collapse on them? I have read too many sad stories after a disastrous result from digging holes at the beach. Our two boys know the dangers. This should not continue to happen. This young man survived miraculously. Sadly, I have told young people not to dig holes they can put their bodies in, and they glare at me like I'm crazy. I'm sorry to hear of this happening again.

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