KILL DEVIL HILLS, N.C. — Playing in the sand is a fun way to experience the beach, but even that can go too far, sometimes.
That's exactly what happened at the Clark Street Beach Access in Kill Devil Hills on Sunday, where a large hole in the sand was left unattended.
The Town of Kill Devil Hills shared a picture of an ocean rescue supervisor standing in this hole, which appeared to be several feet deep and transitioned from a top layer of dryer sand to a sludgy mix at the bottom.
According to spokesperson Rachel Tackett, this wasn't the only time large holes have been found on the town's beaches.
"Unfortunately, we have experienced several occasions of large holes being dug and left on the beach in Kill Devil Hills," Tackett told 13News Now. "Digging holes like this and leaving them is extremely dangerous."
'It could be catastrophic': Why large beach holes aren't safe
If you don't want to be "that person," know this: the biggest factor is that the sand could collapse on the person that is digging the hole, because of how heavy and unstable it is. Rescuers would have a hard time removing large quantities of sand quickly because it could just keep collapsing on itself.
This becomes a bigger problem for beachgoers at night time when the visibility is lower. Tackett said that children like to hunt for ghost crabs on the beach at night, but it could be disastrous if they fell into one of the holes.
Large holes on the beach also affect lifeguards' and first responders' ability to respond to emergencies quickly, because they are unnecessary barriers.
"Again, if they are answering a call for help when visibility is low at night, and do not see a hole, it could be catastrophic," Tackett said.
The holes are also a threat to endangered sea turtles on the Outer Banks. Since it's nesting season, they can trap nesting mothers and hatchlings, which can be fatal.
Tackett said the town's ocean rescue staff and fire department have to fill the holes, which takes time away from things that can be better used in the community.
She encouraged people who visit the beach to only dig shallow holes and always fill them in before leaving the area.