Dad killed after sand tunnel collapses on him during holiday

Lee Goggin and his wife Courtney and three young children.
Lee Goggin and his wife Courtney and three young children. Photo: Facebook

A father of three has died after a sand tunnel collapsed on top of him during a "freak accident" on a family holiday.

Lee Goggin, a personal trainer from Texas, was visiting a Florida beach with his wife Courtney Goggin, their three children, Jace, 4, Colton, 2 and eight-month-old Rylee on Sunday when he was buried by a sand tunnel he had been building next to a dune.

The family, including Mr Goggin's sister Rachel Goggin Burt and her husband Brandon, were en route to Disney World, stopping at a nearby beach to let the kids "stretch and burn some energy" before checking in to their hotel that afternoon.

According to a police report obtained by PEOPLE, family members attempted to free Mr Goggin from under the sand before calling emergency services. By the time a crew from St Johns County Fire Rescue reached the father-of-three, he was in cardiac arrest.

"He essentially dug a tunnel by hand," Jeremy Robshaw, spokesman for St. John's County Fire Rescue told The Miami Herald. "He was digging alongside the dunes, which are about three to five feet high. Apparently, the sand collapsed on him and the individual was trapped."

Mr Goggin was taken to Flagler Hospital in a critical condition and placed in an induced coma. "He has a heartbeat but he is not breathing on his own," Ms Goggin Burt wrote on a Go Fund Me page, established to help with medical expenses. 

In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Ms Goggin Burt shared the devastating news that her brother had died. "Our hearts are shattered," she wrote. "It is with great sorrow and sadness that I write this. My precious, big brother is with Jesus."