Beachgoers "did everything they could" to save the life of a seven-year-old boy has died at a New Zealand beach after a hole in the sand collapsed on him and suffocated him.
The accident happened at Pataua South Beach, near Whangarei in Northland, on Sunday afternoon.
The boy had poked his head into a hole in the sand and the sand collapsed around him, pinning him in, said St John northern communications shift manager Tony Devanney.
Members of the public attempted to resuscitate him and St John sent paramedics by helicopter.
He was pulled out of the hole but could not be revived. "Sadly and horribly it was unsuccessful," Devanney said.
It was not clear how long the boy was stuck in the hole, he said.
Mr Devanney said it did not appear the hole was all that big.
A pilot with the Northland Electricity Rescue Helicopter told Radio New Zealand this morning that passers-by did everything they could to save the boy.
Russell Proctor said when the helicopter arrived on the scene members of the public were already performing CPR on the child.
Proctor said they were joined by four paramedics and three doctors who were at the scene.
He added that there were about 30 people at the beach, some of whom were members of the boy's family.
Stuff.co.nz with AAP