NEWPORT BEACH (CBS) — Matt Mina, 17, knows he is lucky to be alive.

Wednesday afternoon, a sinkhole he dug on Newport Beach caved in around him.

He tells CBS2’s Stacey Butler he counted every breath.

Newport Beach lifeguards and scores of people began digging him out. He told Butler that he thought he was going to die.

The lifeguards were able to free the teen after about about a half-hour. “I didn’t think anyone could hear me screaming.”

During his ordeal, Mina tells Butler he lost consciousness. “You have no idea how heavy six feet of sand feels.”

Mina was ultimately rescued and taken to Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian.

He was treated and released. He’s in good condition. A lot scared and a lot rattled.

Mina told Butler he wanted to express his extreme gratitude for all the people who worked at saving his life today. And he added, he hoped what happened to him Wednesday would serve as a cautionary tale to others…no more digging at the beach.

Comments (22)
  1. Timothy McGarry says:

    A tough lesson in physics for the kid. Glad he’s O.K.

  2. Diane says:

    The lifeguards shouldn’t have let him dig in the first place.

    1. JusDav says:

      Lifegaurds are now in charge of digging in the sand? that sounds like a bit of a stretch. I think they are mostly for rescue and water activities. I did not know that the duties now icluded being sand castle police. LOL

      have a spectacular day today everyone. go to the beach and build a sand castle, just do not let Diane see you doing it… she will report you to the sand castle police. aka lifegards.


      1. Diane says:

        So, JusDav, I was referring to tunneling, not building a sand castle. If lifeguards know how dangerous tunneling is, why shouldn’t they stop it if they see it going on? Just go ahead and dig a tunnel next time you’re at the beach.

      2. JusDav says:

        No thank you Diane, I am just a bit smarter than that.
        But although I do understand your point… I was trying to make the point that lifeguards should not be involved with such trivial items. If someone dies in the above manner, (being quite stupid), then they just continue to prove the evolution theory by spectacularly removing themselves from the human gene pool. Worst case scenario is that we have another Darwin award winner.
        Have a great day Diane.

      3. Jeanie says:

        I agree with Diane. Lifeguards are responsible for the safety of people on the beach. Whether they are in or out of the water. I was a lifeguard for many years. JusDav, you’re off base with your Darwin comments. To win the Darwin award you have to be killed doing something you KNOW is stupid. However, most people, whether they are young or old have no idea how dangerous tunneling in sand is. Just like undertows and strong currents, they are hidden dangers that people need to be informed about so they know the risks. If a lifeguard happens to see people digging in such a manner they should ALWAYS let them know what could happen.

    2. Heather says:

      Lifeguards are trained to always watch the water for people in trouble aren’t they?. Not sure how successful they would be if they have to start dividing their attention btw the sand and the ocean.

  3. BD McGee says:

    What a nad.

  4. BCP says:

    I don’t know how could he breathe under the sand??????????? Obviously he could breath some before he was pulled out.. he is darn lucky and blessed.

    1. Ohhonestly says:

      Air trapped in the space he was in, more than likely. I doubt the sand completely filled the area he was in.

  5. Alyssa says:

    Lifeguards need to put a stop to kids using large shovels to dig holes. We had an incident up in Santa Cruz, CA a month or two ago, a teen was connecting two holes together and was buried in the tunnel. He’s a vegetable now.

  6. Alma Villarreal says:


  7. William Humphrey says:

    He didn’t dig a sinkhole. He dug a hole that collapsed on him. A sinkhole is something entirely different.

    1. Ohhonestly says:

      You’re asking for accuracy in reporting?

  8. Jan says:

    OMG Mimi – are you an American or is your spelling realling that bad

    1. Jan says:

      See – I meant to say “really” – but I was still in shock by your writing

    2. jusdav says:

      It looks like it was typed in a language other than English, then run through the Google translator (any online translator). You should try it. It is funny as all get out.
      Type a paragraph in English, translate to another language, let’s say French. Then take those results and translate to Finnish or German. Then take those results and translate back to English. You will have no idea what you were trying to say… and YOU WROTE IT…. lol

      sry this is a bit off topic, but I couldn’t resist.


  9. Ohhonestly says:


  10. Brutass says:

    I hope this idiot is billed and has to pay for the rescue.

    He is beyond stupid.

  11. Hi I'm a dork says:

    Why would this nimrod show his face in public- what a complete tool.

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