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SAND STORM; Warnings are ignored after beach tragedy.

Byline: By GEOFFREY LAKEMAN

HOLIDAYMAKERS are ignoring warnings not to dig sandpits like the one which killed tot Abbie Livingston-Nurse.

Lifeguards patrolling Cornwall's packed beaches have even been told to "f*** off" as they give safety advice.

One group of thoughtless teenagers had to be stopped digging a dangerously deep hole in the sand just yards from where the three-year-old was buried alive on Sunday afternoon.

Council beach manager Phil Drew, who helped in the desperate attempts to save Abbie, said the safety message had still not got through.

"You would have thought that everyone would have heard about it and learned the lesson," he said as lifeguards patrolled Upton Towans beach in Hayle, near St Ives, where Abbie died.

"But we have already seen one group of teenagers just yards away on the same beach who were digging a steep-sided pit. One of our lifeguards went up and warned them of the dangers and they stopped.

"We had a similar incident two weeks before this tragedy where one of our female lifeguards saw two adults digging a hole and gave them advice. But their response was to tell her, 'f*** off'."

He added: "There is an important safety message here which needs to be taken on board by parents. We don't want to stop people making sandcastles or digging holes, like they have always done on beaches, but we want them to think about their safety."

Hayle is proud of its dunes, with large signs that boast of "three miles of golden sands".

Mr Drew, who works for Penwith district council, said: "It would be very difficult to word any warning (on signs) in such a way as to make a distinction between digging a small hole and digging something like a pit. If a body like the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents comes up with an idea for signs then we would look at it but in the meantime we hope families will use common sense."

Falmouth Coastguard watch manager James Instance emphasised: "We would not want to stop anyone building sandcastles or digging on the beach, but we would ask parents to take care.

"They should make sure holes are shallow and have gently sloping sides which are not going to cave in and children should be supervised."

Abbie's mum Pippa, 33, and her teacher partner , 40 year-old Ian Sayer, were yesterday back at their home in Worthing, Sussex, being comforted by relatives.

Ian fought desperately to free Abbie and her five-year-old brother Joe as frantic Pippa ran to raise the alarm.

He was able to release Joe but the wet sand, loosened by a recent high tide, collapsed in on Abbie.

Police have taken statements from lifeguards and witnesses.

An inquest will be held at a later date.

CAPTION(S):

BURIED ALIVE: Abbie
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 17, 2005
Words:469
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