Fight for survival: couple submerged in sand on Bay beach
AN EVENING stroll along Torquay Beach for Sam and John Gould quickly turned into a fight for survival.
Sam and her husband John were walking along the beach near the water on Monday about 6.45pm when suddenly they began to rapidly sink into the sand.
Within a few seconds the sand was up to Sam's waist and the more she moved the further down she sank until it was up to her neck.
It was a traumatic experience for John, who fought with all his strength in the darkness while waist deep in sand, to stop his wife from sinking further into the depths.
"On a fear factor of one to 10 - it was 100," a shaken John told the Chronicle.
"I'm a tradie - I have raced bikes and been in all sorts of situations but nothing like this before.
"100% someone could have died in this situation.
"If I was by myself and sunk in, I wouldn't be here and if Sam was by herself - she wouldn't be here."
After dragging themselves from the sinking sand, John and Sam made their way to the Torquay IGA to call police.
Torquay IGA owner Graham Sewell said the couple were visibly shaken up to half an hour after arriving at his store.
The incident occurred along the stretch of beach in front of the Torquay Revetment Wall worksite.
Fraser Coast councillor Denis Chapman confirmed the council is investigating the cause of the sinking sand.
"While the soft sand was well away from the Torquay Revetment Wall worksite, at this stage council is not sure it is a natural phenomenon caused by tidal movement or from changes to ground-water drainage," he said.
"In a bid to stop further incidents of people falling into soft sand as they walk on the beach, the contractor building the wall will drive machinery over the sand in front of the work site each evening.
"Any soft spots that are found will be filled in."
Although John and Sam were left shaken and sandy, they have concerns others may not be as lucky.
"What if it was a kid or someone elderly?" asked Sam, who still refuses to go back to the site.
"If John wasn't pushing me out, I would have kept going under - it was like quicksand. "
While the incident happened away from the worksite, Cr Chapman said people needed to stay out of the work area when visiting the beach.
"Since the project started warning signs have been installed along the project area which is also roped off when work has stopped each day."
It comes after a council backhoe involved in preparation works for Cyclone Debbie became bogged in wet sand adjacent to the Torquay Revetment Wall project.
An excavator from the contractor assisted the backhoe operator to shift the machine.