Olympic swimmer rescued from sand burial in Pompano - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Olympic swimmer rescued from sand burial in Pompano

POMPANO BEACH, FL (WFLX) - A member of the Austrian Olympic swim team was buried in sand up to his neck for two hours Sunday evening while 60 rescue personnel tried to dig him out, said Pompano Beach Fire-Rescue spokeswoman Sandra King.

The 19-year-old, whose name King could not release, was in danger of being crushed by the pressure of the sand, King said.

Rescue crews arrived at around 7 p.m. at the 700 block of North Ocean Boulevard.

When the man was finally pulled from the hole around 9 p.m., he was conscious and talking, King said, but may have suffered internal injuries. He was taken to North Broward Hospital.

The swimmer became buried after he spent all day at the beach digging a hole 7 feet deep and 6 feet across, King said.

According to friends, King said, he jumped into the hole as a joke and the sides collapsed around him, leaving his head exposed.

"It was like a turtle," King said.

The rescue was tricky, King said, because the hole could have collapsed further, burying the man's head. The sides of the hole had to be boarded up to prevent that before crews began to dig.

A few members of the Austrian Olympic swim team have been training in South Florida since April, King said. Today was a day off for the buried swimmer and his friends.

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