WARNINGS have been given about the dangers of digging in the dunes after Sunday’s incident.
The Coastguard and the National Trust, which owns the land at Druridge Bay, want the incident to be a stark reminder to people that there are dangers at the beach.
Greg Albrighton, Coastguard search and rescue operations manager for the North East, said: “There is no way we want to stop people digging holes in the sand but to dig a hole that deep is going a bit far.
“Sand does cause problems, especially in the dunes. The sand is carefully balanced and if you remove anything from the bottom it will fall down.
“The sand dunes are great for playing in but not for digging.”
He added that digging should take place in the flatter and wetter sand.
The National Trust owns a mile stretch of the coastline where the incident happened.
Kevin Redgrave, National Trust coastal warden for the Northumberland coast, said: “We welcome public access to the beach and we encourage people to go and enjoy the Northumberland coast.
“But we need people to be responsible and look after it and themselves.”
He added that digging in the dunes can disturb the ecology of the area.
Ronnie Martin said the incident was a warning to him and he and his brother are to organise a sponsored bike ride to raise money for the emergency services which helped him. It will take place on the coast and they will speak to Coastguards about the dangers along the way.