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Man dies in Half Moon Bay sand collapse

A 26-year-old man was killed Monday evening after a 10-foot-deep tunnel in the sand collapsed on him at Francis Beach in Half Moon Bay, burying him completely, Cal Fire officials said.

The victim, identified by the San Mateo County coroner’s office as Adam Jay Pye, of San Lorenzo, had been digging angled tunnels in the sand with friends or family members, according to Cal Fire Capt. Jonathan Cox.

Pye was standing in a 10-foot hole when it collapsed on him at 5:28 p.m., covering him completely in sand, Cox said.

Cal Fire and Coastside Fire Protection District crews responded to the scene, along with 30 additional firefighters from throughout San Mateo County brought in due to the complexity of the rescue, Cox said.

Crews and bystanders together worked “aggressively” to free Pye from the hole in less than 35 minutes, Cox said. Paramedics tried to revive Pye during the rescue, but he was pronounced dead at the scene, Cox said.

Firefighters are reminding residents to be aware of hidden dangers at the beach. People should stay back from cliffs, use caution when swimming in big surf and not dig too deeply in the sand, Cox said.

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