Emergency crews rescue 15-year-old girl from hole after sand collapses around her in Chatham

CHATHAM, MASS. (WHDH) - A 15-year-old girl was pulled from a hole in the sand at a beach on Cape Cod Sunday afternoon.

A normal beach day turned into a race to the rescue when Tessa Filmer-Gallagher became trapped when the hole she was digging on a Chatham beach collapsed around her.

“One of the kids called me and when I answered I could barely hear them I said, ‘What’s going on?’ And they said, ‘Tessa is buried,” her mom Heidi said.

Photos from the scene show rescuers trying to dig her out.

“She was very calm, I think she may have been in shock but she was also cold cuz the sand was wet sand,” Filmer-Gallagher said. “and… would compress and make it hard for her to breathe. It was like cement.”

The Chatham Harbormaster, Coast Guard and firefighters were called to help and used a special tube to allow Tessa to hold on while also protecting her from another cave-in.

“It was hard for me cause I wanted to help shovel and they wouldn’t let me help,” Filmer-Gallagher recalled feeling as she watched crews work to rescue her daughter. “The rescue team was amazing absolutely amazing every single one of them professional experienced.”

After about 25 minutes of digging, Tessa was freed and examined by the first responders.

Filmer-Gallagher said her daughter is going to be just fine and hopes that others can learn from their frightening day at the beach.

“We want to make sure this doesn’t happen to somebody else,” she said. “She was the first to say she’ll never dig another hole.”



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