Olympic Swimmer Nearly Dies in Beach Burial Stunt

Swim team digs 7-foot hole, collapse buries Jakub Maly
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted May 10, 2011 2:41 AM CDT
Updated May 10, 2011 4:25 AM CDT
Rescuers attempt to free a member of the Austrian Olympic swim team who was buried in sand.   (AP Photo/Broward Sheriff’s Office-Pompano Beach District, Lt. Darin D. Dowe)
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(Newser) – An Austrian Olympic team swimmer is recovering after nearly being buried alive on a Florida beach. After three weeks of training at Pompano Beach, Jakub Maly and his friends dug a huge hole at the beach—"big enough to bury a golf cart," according to a fire department spokeswoman. But when Maly jumped into the 7-foot-deep hole, the walls suddenly collapsed, completely burying the 19-year-old swimmer. Teammates dug furiously to free his head so he could breathe. It took some 60 rescuers two hours to free him from the hole as sand continued to fill it.

Dozens worked on freeing Maly and boards had to be put in place to hold back the sand and protect the swimmer's head. His coach talked to him the entire time, making certain he remained conscious. "At times, he thought he was going to lose the boy," said a witness. Maly was released from a local hospital yesterday and returned to Austria, although doctors said they are still worried about possible injuries to his legs and kidneys, reports the Sun Sentinel.

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