Bedlington dad lucky to be alive after getting stuck in sand

A BEDLINGTON dad has told how he thought he would died when hole he was digging collapsed burying him alive.

Ronnie Martin, 32, had cycled to Druridge Bay beach with his brother Billy, friend Reg Van Der Poll and wife Beverley, but what was a fun day soon turned into almost tragedy as Ronnie became completely trapped in a 10ft hole in the dunes on Sunday afternoon.

“I thought I was going to die,” he said.

“My brother was helping to dig me out and he thought he would be bringing me out dead.

“Reg said he could hear me mumbling and struggling to breathe, sucking in sand. He said it will haunt him for the rest of his life.”

But Ronnie’s friends and family were at his side trying to dig him out before the emergency services arrived.

Police, ambulance, fire crews, the coastguard, Great North Air Ambulance, Urban Search and Rescue and the Hazardous Area Response Team then spent nearly two hours trying to free Ronnie. A digger was also brought in but he was eventually freed by hand.

“I was squatting in the bottom of the hole when the sand came in with my hands between my legs,” Ronnie added.

“I didn’t know where anything was.

“The sand just engulfed every single orifice. It was crushing me. I just thought I was going to die. I have only slept a few hours since it happened.

“When I got out I crawled off the stretcher and grabbed my wife and hugged her.

“I just want to say a massive thank you to everyone.

“I shouldn’t physically be here, I’m so lucky. People don’t normally come out of that alive.”