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.