Girl, 9, Dies in Sand Collapse at Oregon Beach

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Memorials sprouted on an Oregon beach for a 9-year-old girl who police said died when the hole she was digging in the sand collapsed, suffocating her.

Isabel Grace Franks, 9, died Friday despite the desperate efforts of beachgoers and rescue personnel to dig her out after the collapse on a beach in Lincoln City, a popular tourist destination on the Oregon coast, Lincoln police said. "Everybody was just digging and digging frantically, and then a first responder jumped down into the hole and it took between 5 and 10 minutes to get her up," Debbie Kohl, who watched the tragic scene unfold from her motel room overlooking the beach, told NBC station KGW in Portland.

Isabel was rushed to a hospital but later pronounced dead. Police Sgt. Brian Eskridge said that there have been sand collapses in the past but that they are rare. "This is a horrific accident," Eskridge told NBC News. "Any time you've got a sand structure, if they dig, there's the potential someone can get trapped in it. It's really dangerous, and people aren't aware of it." Eskridge said the suction when a sand pit collapses makes it especially difficult to rescue those trapped.

By Saturday, the memorials were already grow on the beach where the accident occurred, with flowers and candles placed in the sand.

A memorial on a Lincoln City, Oregon, beach for 9-year-old Isabel Grace Franks, who died in a sand collapse Friday.Wayne Havrelly /


— Phil Helsel