January 30, 2018 01:38 PM

What was supposed to be a fun family vacation quickly turned tragic after a tunnel that a 35-year-old father was building in the sand collapsed on top of him at a beach in St. Augustine, Florida.

Lee Goggin, of Dallas, Texas, was trapped under two to three feet of sand as the St. John’s County Fire Rescue team worked to free him. By the time they reached him, he was in cardiac arrest.

“He has a heartbeat, but he is not breathing on his own,” Goggin’s sister, Rachel Goggin Burt, wrote on a GoFundMe page created by the family. “The next 24 hours will be very critical for him and we need all the prayers we can get.”

According to the police incident report obtained by PEOPLE, Burt told officers that Goggin was digging for quite some time while his wife Courtney shot video on her cellphone. They first tried to dig him out on their own, but after one minute, they called 911 for help.

When help arrived, it took the rescue team 30 minutes to get him out. He was then transferred to Flagler Hospital.

Burt, her husband, Brandon and their three children traveled to Florida with the Goggins for a family trip to Disney World. They decided to stop at a nearby beach for the children to “stretch and burn some energy” before their afternoon check-in time at their hotel.


While at the beach, Goggin began to dig in the soft white sand near some dunes. That’s when Burt saw the sand collapse on him and she began screaming.

“He essentially dug a tunnel by hand,” Jeremy Robshaw, spokesman for St. John’s County Fire Rescue, told the newspaper. “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.”

According to The Star-Telegram, Goggin had end-stage kidney disease in 2014 and received a life-saving kidney transplant from his young brother, Aaron.

“Our God is a mighty God and we have faith,” Burt wrote on the GoFundMe page. “Please keep his wife, Courtney, and their 3 sweet children, Jace – 4 1/2, Colton 2 1/2 and Rylee 8 months, in your prayers along with his immediate family.”

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