Lee Goggin, the young dad caught in a sand tunnel collapse earlier this week, has died in hospital.
The father-of-three from Texas was on life support after being buried alive under several metres of sand while playing with his kids on the beach.
But the doting dad lost his fight for life yesterday, leaving behind his shattered wife Courtney and their three young children, Jace, 4, Colton, 2 and Rylee, 8 months.
‘Our hearts are shattered’
The family had made an impromptu decision to stop at the beach and stretch their legs on the way to Disney World. It is believed one of the children was in the tunnel with their father shortly before it collapsed.
“Our hearts are shattered, but we don’t grieve without hope,” Lee’s sister, Rachel Goggin Burt, wrote on Facebook.
“Lee Goggin is where he has prepared to be. He is reunited with our sweet mom and Mamaw & Papaw.”
Trapped for 30 minutes
On Sunday, the 35-year-old personal trainer was building a sand tunnel at a beach in Florida with his family when the tunnel and surrounding sand dunes collapsed on him.
His family called for help and frantically tried to dig him out, but the sand was too thick.
It took a crew from St. Johns County Fire Rescue 30 minutes to uncover Lee in the sand. They transported him to a nearby hospital in critical condition. The accident left Lee in a coma and unable to breathe for himself.
Sand dune tragedy leaves three children without a father
For two days the Goggin family held on to the hope that Lee would pull through.
Unfortunately, the impact of the accident was simply too much and Lee lost his battle yesterday.
Rachel shared the sad news on her Facebook page and revealed that the family will donate Lee’s organs. Lee had received a kidney transplant himself several years ago.
“It is with great sorrow and sadness that I write this. My precious, big brother is with Jesus. Our hearts are shattered, but we don’t grieve without hope. Lee Goggin is where he has prepared to be, in heaven,’ she said.
“Lee wanted to give as much of himself to others as he could. He will be following, once again, in our mom’s footsteps by donating as many organs as possible to bring hope to other families.”
The heartbroken family have started a GoFundMe page to help with the costs this unexpected tragedy has caused and to help Courtney and the kids.
Stay away from the dunes
Although the incident is being called a “freak accident”, it is important that parents are aware of the dangers at the beach, not just in the water, but on the sand as well.
People should avoid playing, sunbathing and digging near sand dunes. There have been several deaths caused by sand dune and tunnel collapses including a 10-year-old boy from New South Wales, a nine-year old girl from Oregon, USA and a 16-year-old boy from the UK.
Lee’s death is the second tragic loss Mum Central has reported this week. Closer to home, Sara Chivers – the mum who touched hearts after it was revealed both she and her toddler son were fighting aggressive brain tumours – also lost her battle for life this week.