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Sand Tunnel Warning

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7:02am 5th July 2014

We are being warned over the dangers of sand tunnels on Cornish beaches.

It is after a two-metre deep one was discovered dug into a dune on Constantine beach.

The RNLI are advising us not to dig into dunes or sand cliffs left by the winter storms.

As the weather gets hotter they are at risk of collapse.

We are being urged not to let kids play near them as the consequences could be fatal.

The RNLI is urging people to take extra care around sand dunes this summer, after a two metre deep tunnel was discovered on Constantine beach in North Cornwall. Lifeguards managed to fill the tunnel before anybody could have been hurt, but the charity is urging people to be extra careful around the unstable dunes as the warmer weather creates increased risk of collapse.

Steve Instance, RNLI Senior Lifeguard Manager, said: "This is the first sand tunnel we’ve seen this year and fortunately the lifeguards spotted it and were able to cover it over quickly. Clearly it could have collapsed at any time whilst digging it or even whilst walking over it with potentially fatal consequences.

"Although the large cliffs of sand may look enticing play grounds, we urge people to resist the temptation to play on them or dig into them.  The sand is very unstable and can collapse at any time, trapping anyone on or below it. The areas of unstable dunes and cliffs are clearly signed on the beaches and we ask people to take heed of this advice as it’s in their best interests for their safety."

He added: "We're not being killjoys, we're not saying don't dig in the sand, of course that is part of the beach holiday, digging on the beach is great fun but just don't dig into the face of these sand dunes, because they can and will collapse, and if you're underneath it your chances of survival are pretty much nil.

"Obviously sand isn't a stable structure, so as soon as you start digging into the sand the massive weight of all that sand above where the tunnel was dug could just collapse at any time, to get into the back of this tunnel two metres in, you're quite a way in, there is no way out if that sand dune collapses."

RNLI lifeguards begin their peak season patrols from Saturday meaning all 57 lifeguarded beaches in Cornwall will be patrolled, with lifeguard numbers increasing on some of the busier beaches.

Peak season runs until September 7 and is predicted to be the busiest time for RNLI lifesavers as it encompasses the school summer holidays.

7:02am 5th July 2014

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