Utah Boy Killed in Sand Cave Collapse
Saturday, Sept. 20, 2008 - The Associated Press
LITTLE SAHARA RECREATION AREA — A 12-year-old Utah boy was digging into a wet sand dune at a state park when it collapsed and killed him.
Juab County Sheriff Alden Orme confirmed the boy's identity as Caleb Williams of Wellington for the Deseret News, but he refused Saturday to provide the same information to The Associated Press, The Salt Lake Tribune and the Daily Herald.
The boy was digging into the dune with friends from a Boy Scout troop when the collapse trapped him under six feet of sand Friday for more than 30 minutes, and he died before medical help could arrive, the sheriff told the Deseret News.
There was conflicting information on the boy's status as a scout.
Randy Rymer, a scout leader in Mapleton, said Williams was a friend of another scout and not a member of the 7th Ward troop that was camping at the Little Sahara Recreation Area. Rymer said he believed — but couldn't be certain — that Williams belonged to another scout troop from Wellington. He referred the AP on Saturday to Dale Munk, a stake or congregation president for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
But Munk, who said he oversees eight scout troops in Mapleton, said he had little information on Williams or the accident.
A Juab County dispatcher said that Sheriff Orme wasn't available Saturday and wasn't releasing any more information on the accident. "This is such a tragedy. This was a fine young man, and he was with an excellent scout troop," Munk told the AP. "Our concern right now is for the family, the scouts that were there and the leaders, too."
The boy's death was the third fatality of a youth in recent years from a sand-tunnel collapse at Little Sahara, Orme told the Deseret News.
Moist sand that can appear stable for digging can dry out quickly and collapse, the sheriff said.
The Deseret News reported that the recreation area logged 919 accidents and 13 fatalities, largely from ATV-related accidents, from 2002 to 2007.