Teen dies at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park in Utah


A 13-year-old died after he was buried in sand at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park.

Utah State Parks

A 13-year-old died after a sand tunnel he was building collapsed onto him, Utah officials said.

Ian Spendlove of Santa Clara was likely digging a tunnel into the side of a sand dune Saturday, May 14, when it collapsed on him unexpectedly, Utah State Parks rangers said. He became trapped under the sand.

A family member rushed to get state park officials to help, and the group immediately started digging into the sand to find Spendlove. State Park rangers and deputies with the Kane County Sheriff’s Office used shovels to dig for the teen.

After about 20 minutes of digging, Spendlove was found beneath more than 6 feet of sand. Rescuers started CPR until emergency personnel arrived, according to Utah State Parks.

Spendlove had a pulse and was flown on a Life Flight to a hospital. On Sunday, May 15, he was pronounced dead, officials said.

“Unfortunately, on Sunday, Spendlove had not regained brain activity and was declared dead,” officials said in a news release. “The Utah Division of State Parks extends our condolences to Ian Spendlove’s friends and family impacted by this tragedy.”

The teen was at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, which is home to mountains of sand that move each year. The park is about 180 miles northeast of Las Vegas and 310 miles south of Salt Lake City.

Maddie Capron is a McClatchy Real-Time News Reporter focused on the outdoors and wildlife in the western US She graduated from Ohio University and previously worked at CNN, the Idaho Statesman and Ohio Center for Investigative Journalism.

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