Florida Photographer Dies After Sand Dune Collapses on Top of Him

GoPro on the beach

A Florida man died from being buried under sand after his GoPro camera fell on him while he photographed the sunrise.

According to local police, Sean Nagel, aged 35, was known to spend the early morning hours near Rock Beach in Martin County, Florida, accompanied by his GoPro where he would watch and record the sunrise.

His body was discovered later that morning when a bystander walking down the beach saw Nagel’s feet sticking out from the sand. According to WPTV, fire rescue arrived at the scene and later removed the body.

“It was an odd scene with his feet sticking up out of the sand. Then of course, we had to dig down in order to find the body,” Sheriff William Snyder informs the local NBC affiliate .. “It revealed some sand in his lungs.”

The time of death was estimated at between 5 AM and 6 AM, and officials speculate that Nagel had his legs up and was leaning back on some sand when it collapsed on top of him.

“Somehow while he was there, inexplicably, we don’t know why, that beach erosion, mountain of sand, collapsed on him,” Snyder continues. He was not able to escape and died. The cause of death is asphyxiation.”

Martin County’s website shows a few photos of the area, and one in particular provides a bit of context into how this accident might have happened. The sand on the beaches forms small cliffs. It is possible that Nagel was leaning against the one that collapsed. The cliffs aren’t large, but if he was surprised by the situation and became trapped by the sand, he very easily could have suffocated.

“Investigators are awaiting toxicology tests, which is standard. Those test, however, are not likely to change the outcome of this incident being a tragic accident,” the local police department says.

Law enforcement claims they’ve never witnessed anything similar to this incident. Officials at the time aren’t convinced there was foul play, but the matter is being looked into.

Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.