SOUTH HAVEN, MI. (THECOUNT) — A 12-year-old Kalamazoo-area boy scout was killed after being buried in a mound of sand at Van Buren County State Park on Saturday, Sept. 29, a sergeant with South Haven Police Department confirmed Sunday.

Sergeant Mike Knizewski said the South Have PD responded to reports an unresponsive boy around 4:11 p.m., later identified at 12-year-old Gage Wilson of Kalamazoo, after he was found by boy scout troop leaders buried in sand alongside the beach of the state park. Leaders from the troop were attempting life-saving measures upon the response of South Haven PD, Knizewski said, and were later relieved by South Have Area Emergency Services who later called for air-care assistance.


Wilson was airlifted to Borgess Hospital in Kalamazoo where he was later pronounced dead of injuries suffered in the freak accident.

According to police, an initial investigation determined that Wilson was digging into the side of a dune hill and was accompanied by two other members of the troop. He managed to dig far enough into the side of the hill and crawl into the small space, but the instability of the sandhill caused it to collapse while Wilson was inside.

The two boy scouts who accompanied Wilson did not notice his disappearance for up to 30 minutes, police said. source

Don Shepard, scout executive and CEO of Michigan Crossroads Council and Boy Scouts of America, released a statement on the incident, which can be read in full below:

This is a very difficult time for our Scouting family. We are sad to confirm the death of one of our youth members following an accident at a Scouting event. We offer our deepest condolences to the victim and his family, and we will support them in any way that we can. Please join us in keeping all those affected in your thoughts and prayers.