OC boardwalk surveillance may shed light on death of woman buried alive

WASHINGTON — Investigators in Ocean City, Maryland, are looking to surveillance video for clues in how a Texas woman was buried alive on the beach earlier this week.

And they want to educate the public on the danger of sand collapses.

Surveillance video from the boardwalk could shine a light on how 30-year-old Ashley O’Connor got into a deep hole on the beach where she was buried in sand. It’ll probably take weeks before the toxicology report determines if O’Connor was under the influence of any drugs or alcohol, said police spokeswoman Lindsay Richard.

Regardless, O’Connor suffocated in a hole someone should not have dug, said Skip Lee of the Ocean City Beach Patrol. Digging deep holes is not permitted on Ocean City beaches because of the danger they pose.

“It cannot be deeper than the knees of the shortest person around the hole,” Lee said of the rule.

It should be no deeper, Lee said, because a sand collapse can happen so quickly — which is why lifeguards train in sand rescue. But he recommends that if you see someone trapped, begin digging right away.

“Time is of the essence. The weight and the pressure continues to build. If I saw someone in trouble, I’d go to them immediately,” he said.

He also recommends getting the attention of the lifeguard, because digging someone out takes multiple people.

Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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