13-year-old Dies After Being Buried By Sand Dune in Utah State Park


A 13-year-old boy has died from his injuries a day after a sand dune he was digging in collapsed, and buried him at a Utah state park, officials said Monday.

The 13-year-old Utah boy had been digging a tunnel into the dune at southern Utah’s Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park when it collapsed on him Saturday evening, park rangers said. 

A family member alerted authorities, and rangers began to dig the boy out when they arrived from what they said was about 6 ½ feet (2 meters) of sand. 

After Kane County Sheriff’s deputies and rangers rescued the boy, found he had a pulse, and administered CPR, the boy was transported to a St. George hospital and then to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City. On Sunday, the 13-year-old died there Sunday after not regaining brain activity, the Utah Division of State Park Department said. 

The boy, Ian Spendlove, was from Santa Clara, a small town about 65 miles (105 kilometers) from Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, officials said Monday. 

Off-road drivers and campers often flock to the park near the Utah-Arizona border for the warm air, and pink sand, which is made out of eroding Navajo sandstone. 

A spokesman for the parks agency, Devan Chavez, said he wasn’t aware of any similar incidents at Coral Pink Sand Dunes, but in 2012, another teen died after being trapped under a collapsed sand dune at Snow Canyon State Park, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) northwest. 

The incident from Saturday remains under investigation. Rangers stated it happened quickly and they did not know how long the boy was buried. 

“Chavez offered condolences to Spendlove’s family and urged visitors to be safe. 

“Always recreate with a buddy or someone who can help you or go and 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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