“He Was Ash Grey, He Was Dead”: 3 Heroes on Beach Rescue 3-Year-Old Buried Alive in Sand

Like many families do in the summer, Stuart Frost and his family were soaking up the sun in Newport Beach, California. It was their annual family reunion, when everyone comes together for a week of fun and creating memories.

Stuart Frost

They quickly learned it was a reunion they wouldn’t soon forget.

While playing in the sand, Stuart’s nephew, 35-year-old Jesse Martin, gathered the family to help a woman who had lost her 3-year-old on the beach. She was frantically searching for the boy who was wearing blue swim trunks.

“I could see this lady down the beach with her hands on her head, just distraught,” Jesse told AZ Central. “So I said to my family, ‘Let’s go help her.’ She was around like 50 people, and none of them got up to help her. It was really odd.”

The whole family, which was about 30 people, immediately put their activities aside and offered to help the woman find her son. They spread out and began searching the beach.

That’s when Stuart, his twin brother Steve and Jesse all saw kids digging holes in the sand in the area the toddler had last been seen.

The three men began digging deeper into the holes. Soon after, Jesse felt the boy, saw his blue swim trunks and pulled him from the sand. The toddler had been digging a 3-foot hole that collapsed on top of him—trapping him under the sand.

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But the discovery wasn’t the celebratory moment everyone had hoped for:

“He was ash grey, he was dead,” said Stuart. “He was dead. So we pulled him out, and the mom was just beside herself.”

Despite the fact that they believed the boy was gone, the men did everything in their power to try to revive the little boy.

They performed CPR and within a minute, the boy’s lips began to quiver. Just a few minutes later, he started to breathe on his own and scream for his mom.

The boy was brought to the hospital and later released with confirmation that he was doing just fine.

Stuart says what happened afterward was really what made it all worth it:

“One of the neat things about the story is that later that day, the family came over and showed us a picture of him laughing and smiling and doing okay. It was truly a miracle.”

Jesse, on the other hand, who is father to a 9-year-old and 12-year-old, says his actions were not heroic:

“I’m not a hero. I have two kids of my own, it scares me. I just like to help out and help anyone we can. I knew (the mom) was frantic and scared. Kids have gotten away from me, I know the feeling. I just tried to jump in and help.”

According to Newport Beach Lifeguard Battalion Chief Brent Jacobsen, sand entrapment is no joke. It’s a danger that most people are not aware of, but can cause serious injuries and even death.

“It is very easy to become entrapped,” he said. “Sand can weigh several hundred pounds and you don’t even realize it.”

Experts suggest holes be dug no deeper than one foot, and that sand tunnels are not built or climbed into.

Thank goodness for Jesse and his family taking care of those around them. Had they ignored that woman’s cry for help on the beach that day like everyone else, there’s no telling what could have happened to that little boy.

Bri Lamm
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Bri is an outgoing introvert with a heart that beats for adventure. She lives to serve the Lord, experience the world, and eat macaroni and cheese in between capturing life’s greatest moments on one of her favorite cameras.