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Family breaks silence after man buried alive

The family of a young man who was buried alive underneath 1.5m of sand at a popular beach have broken their silence as he continues to fight for life.

Josh Taylor, 25, was without a pulse for 45 minutes after the horrific incident on Bribie Island on Saturday afternoon.

His friends and family took turns providing CPR until he was flown to Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane where he remains in a critical condition.

Taylor’s uncle, Barry Taylor, spoke to 7NEWS outside the hospital on Wednesday and revealed his nephew was “fighting hard” to stay alive.

Josh Taylor remains in a critical condition after he was buried alive in a hole on Bribie Island. Picture: Supplied
Josh Taylor remains in a critical condition after he was buried alive in a hole on Bribie Island. Picture: Supplied

“He’s still critical, he’s in ICU, and we’re awaiting the results of more tests,” Mr Taylor said.

“He’s fighting hard mate, he’s really fighting hard, his heart’s still beating,

“We’re devastated — it’s really been hard for us to comprehend what’s happened to Josh.”

Mr Taylor described his nephew as a “vibrant” and “energetic” person who “loves the outdoors, fishing and camping”.

“We’re still able to see him now and we’re very grateful for their help,” Barry said.

Six days have now passed since Taylor was pulled free from the sandpit by fifteen men.

A witness who helped rescue Mr Taylor was told the group had dug the sand pit to cook a pig, similar to the traditional Maori cooking style of hangi.

“He stood up off the chair, the sand had given away a little bit underneath him,” Nathan told 7News on Sunday night.

“He stumbled back. He’d put his arms out to obviously break the fall. He’s continued going down and knocked sand as he’s put his arms out.”

Nathan was leaving the beach with his family when a group of men ran over yelling for help to rescue their friend from under the sand.

Family and friends raced to dig him out of the sand. Picture: Nine News
Family and friends raced to dig him out of the sand. Picture: Nine News

When he arrived at the scene, Mr Taylor’s family and friends were desperately digging to get him out.

“I realised someone was head first in a hole and I was just digging, digging, digging,” he said.

“When I first went up to the hole, I couldn’t even see his foot. That’s how deep it was.”

He told NCA NewsWire there were more than 15 people digging in the sand to get the man out before paramedics and rangers arrived.

“All of his family were screaming at us, telling us to help, telling us to get rope so we could pull him out. It was pretty gruesome,” Nathan said.

“There were like 15 men on the rope pulling and he did not budge.”

Queensland Paramedics and an RACQ Lifeflight rescue helicopter crew were called to help rescue the man. Picture: NineNews
Queensland Paramedics and an RACQ Lifeflight rescue helicopter crew were called to help rescue the man. Picture: NineNews

After some time of pulling and digging, Mr Taylor finally burst through the surface of the sand, but the force of being pulled out caused him further injury, Nathan said.

“It was pretty gnarly when he popped out. I threw up,” he said.

“He broke. The suction, the force of everyone pulling.”

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