Tracks in the sand near the shoreline of Francis State Beach, show the spot where people tried to rescue Adam Pye after a sand tunnel collapsed over the 26-year-old San Lorenzo man Monday afternoon.
His parents and family gathered at their house in San Lorenzo Tuesday, still in shock over the loss of the young man they say had a bright smile and a bright future ahead.
"A perfect son, a perfect brother, a perfect friend...a perfect cousin," said Debra Pye, in tears, holding a photo of her son.
Pye's parents say Adam's trip to the beach with close family friends was supposed to be a well-deserved rest for their hard-working son, who had just graduated June 14th from Cal State East Bay, with a major in business communications.
His parents say the 26-year-old had been helping friends dig a tunnel about 10 feet deep, when it collapsed about 5:30p.m. Monday.
"The girls came out of their tunnel, his tunnel caved in and they turned around and said, where's Adam, where's Adam?" said Kevin Pye, Adam's father.
The sand had trapped Adam. His father says the girls tried to save him, by holding up his head which was briefly exposed, before more sand gave way.
Friends and strangers on the beach ran to help.
"There were dozens, dozens of people from the beach, men, women and children pulling sand out of this hole," said George Fry, a camper from Utah who also rushed to help dig with his hands.
"You're just grabbing sand a little bit at a time," Fry told Bay Area TV station KTVU.
First responders from the Coastside Fire Protection District arrived about four minutes after the call.
"They were just starting to get to his head when our first crews got there," said Fire Captain Jonathan Cox who was at the scene.
Cox says Adam was unconscious when paramedics managed to clear sand away from his head and open his airway. After 35 minutes of digging, crews managed to pull him out. They performed CPR but were not able to revive him.
Pye's mother says Adam had worked hard since the age of 15, when he got a job selling concessions at the Oakland Coliseum. His parents say their son had worked his way through school, putting in 12-13 hours on the night shift at the Oakland Airport UPS facility and then turning around to attend school during the day.
"That was all he ever did was just school work and finally he graduated to say Mom, finally, now I have some time, I can rest," Debra Pye said.
Fire officials say while many people think of danger from waves and water at the beach, sand is an equal threat.
"It's extremely unstable, sand is in its nature. And it obviously collapsed extremely quickly," Cox said.
Fire officials covered the holes to make sure no one falls in. They say with so many people on the beaches during this season, they hope people will realize the danger that sand can pose.