Dad fights for life after being 'buried alive' by sand dune
IT SHOULD have been the most perfect family beach day.
Personal trainer Lee Goggin, 35, had just started his holiday in Florida with his wife and three young children when they decided to stop by the beach on Sunday afternoon.
As the children Jace, four, Colton, two, and eight-month-old baby Rylee played in the sand, Lee started building a sand tunnel near some dunes while wife Courtney filmed him.
It was a mistake that has come close to killing him.
Authorities said the tunnel Lee was building suddenly collapsed on him and he was trapped under the weight of it, causing him to go into cardiac arrest before he could be freed.
"He essentially dug a tunnel by hand," St John's County Fire Rescue spokesman Jeremy Robshaw told the Miami Herald.
"He was digging alongside the dunes, which are about three to five feet (0.9m to 1.5 metres) high.
"Apparently, the sand collapsed on him and the individual was trapped."
His panicked family members tried desperately to free Lee but he couldn't be moved from the huge weight of the sand.
In the meantime, Lee went into cardiac arrest.
After emergency crews arrive, it took 30 minutes to free the tourist. He was rushed to a nearby hospital in a critical condition.
Lee's sister Rachel Burt, who was holidaying with her brother's family from Texas, said it was a "freak accident".
"Our family was just starting off on vacation when we stopped in at the beach in St Augustine, Florida to let the kids burn some energy," she said.
"Lee was building a tunnel in the sand when it collapsed on him.
"He has a heartbeat but he is not breathing on his own. The next 24 hours will be very critical for him and we need all the prayers we can get."
A GoFundMe campaign to raise money for Lee's medical expenses has raised $12,500 in less than 24 hours - more than double its original $5000 goal.
Lee had previously survived end-stage kidney disease, the Star-Telegram in his hometown of Dallas, Texas reported.
In 2014 his brother Aaron donated a kidney to Lee to give him a second lease on life after he had been relying on kidney dialysis. Doctors at the time believed Lee's kidney disease was the result of antibiotics given to him when he had spinal meningitis as a young child.