Photos show family moments before the tragic New Jersey sand collapse killed a teenager

Exclusive photos show the family of a teenager who died in an unusual sandpit collapse on the Jersey shore, enjoying themselves in the sun just before the tragedy.

The last known pictures of the Caverly family appear to show 18-year-old Levi digging the deep pit with his 17-year-old sister while their parents, Angela and Todd, watched on at Toms River’s Ocean Beach 3, according to a beachgoer, he took the shot.

“You dug so damn deep. We had storms and everything was wet so the sand was solid. It wasn’t hard to dig that deep. I would say at 12:30 you couldn’t even see them, they were so deep,” the beach-goer told the Post.

The witness said she accidentally captured the family in the background of a photo she took of her husband around 12:50 p.m. Tuesday – just hours before the sand fell on the teenagers, killing Levi and his sister, according to reports by Hals buried police and witnesses.

The woman who fired the shot said she had a bad feeling the teens were digging and was considering warning the family of the danger.

Caverly Sand Pit Death family
A witness said Levi Caverly and his sister dug a very deep hole before the sand collapsed.

“I said to my husband, ‘I better go there,'” she said.

The beachgoer, who asked not to be named, decided not to intervene – but later realized something was terribly wrong when she saw first responders arrive.

“Around 3:45 p.m. there were helicopters, fire engines. I came running over,” she said, adding, “These are the last family pictures with the timestamp 12:49.”

The woman said she couldn’t get the tragedy out of her mind.

“I couldn’t sleep last night. I know it better. I’m the kind of person who gets a premonition, and I knew something was wrong with that hole,” she said. “I was upset about it, and in hindsight, I should have walked up here and said, ‘You have to see it. Don’t dig.’ So there is a lot of guilt.”

Caverly family
The witness said she captured the family in the background of a photograph she took of her husband.

Another witness told the Post on Wednesday she assumed someone had drowned when she saw the number of police officers rushing towards the shore.

“We came to the beach and said, ‘Oh no, someone drowned.’ And then I saw all the shovels and everyone went nuts,” said Frankie Graziano, 52, who walked dogs with her sister.

She watched the teens’ father’s “distressed” expression as dozens of first responders tried to extricate his children from the hole, which firefighters said was three meters deep.

Levi Caverley
Levi Caverly was killed when the sand hole collapsed.
Facebook / Levi Caverly

“The hole was so deep that you could hardly see the men digging. The men meticulously handed buckets of sand one after the other in a bucket chain to get it out of the hole. I heard her say, ‘We found him.’ He obviously passed away because he was in there too long,” she said.

“I saw my father too. I saw his face. I could see the agony in it. My heart bleeds for him because one day your life is whole and the next day it’s broken. And the guilt that comes with it — I’m sure they’ll never be the same,” she said.

The Caverly family of Union, Maine, were on vacation when the freak accident happened, Toms River Police said.

Sandhole collapse in New Jersey.
Levi’s 17-year-old sister was trapped in the pit but was eventually rescued and taken to the hospital.
Steve White for the New York Post

According to police and other sources, the siblings had spent hours digging the hole with Frisbees before it collapsed. According to police, it took first responders more than 2 1/2 hours to dig up Levi and his sister, who were being treated for injuries at the scene. Photos show family moments before the tragic New Jersey sand collapse killed a teenager


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