Santa Clara teen dies after being trapped beneath sand at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park

Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. File photo: Utah State Parks

KANAB, Utah, May 16, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — A 13-year-old boy from Santa Clara has died two days after he was trapped under sand at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park.

Park rangers were alerted just after 5:30 p.m. Friday that the victim, Ian Spendlove, had been trapped, and bystanders were trying to dig him out.

Spendlove “had become trapped underneath the sand,” the Utah State Parks statement says. “Park rangers believe he had been digging a tunnel in the side of a sand dune when it unexpectedly collapsed with him inside.

“A family member who witnessed the collapse notified nearby visitors and state park staff who immediately began digging to locate Spendlove. A State Park law enforcement ranger and deputies with the Kane County Sheriff’s Office arrived soon after with shovels to assist.”

Spendlove was recovered at about 5:53 p.m., and about 6 feet 6 inches beneath the surface.

“First responders administered CPR until additional emergency personnel arrived. After confirming that Spendlove had a pulse, he was transported via Life Flight to St. George Regional Hospital and then to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City,” the statement says.

“Unfortunately, on Sunday, Spendlove had not regained brain activity and was declared dead.

“The Utah Division of State Parks extends our condolences to Ian Spendlove’s friends and family impacted by this tragedy. The incident remains under investigation.”

The Utah State Parks statement urged users to enjoy the outdoors safely.

“While Utah’s outdoors are beautiful places to explore, safety needs to be a top priority,” it says. “Always recreate with a buddy, wear your life jackets and helmets, and always let somebody know where you are going and when to expect your return.”

To learn more about Utah’s state parks, safety tips, and laws and rules, visit

Image: Google Maps


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here