OAK ISLAND, NC (WECT) – Walking down the beach can be a relaxing experience for those who enjoy the coast, but leaders in Oak Island are worried about a problem that keeps popping up.
Town leaders say they have a problem with giant holes on the beach, creating a safety hazard for beach-goers.
Some holes are large enough for a small child or a pet to fall inside and hurt themselves if they aren't paying attention.
Jo Tilghman has spent hours walking along the shore ever since she was a child. But now, she does more of a dodge, avoiding the large holes that can be a problem.
"I'm concerned for people's safety," said Tilghman. "It's fun to dig holes but it's a hazard for walkers."
While town leaders encourage people to have fun while visiting the beach, it's against the law to dig holes if the sand isn't replaced.
Kyle Thomas, who works for Oak Island says that visitors aren't the only ones who can get hurt.
"We're afraid that the sea turtles might fall into these holes and not be able to get out," said Thomas.
Sea turtles who next on Oak Island could die if they fall into a large hole. Police who patrol the beach at night may have a hard time getting around. Plus, those who walk the beach at night could injure themselves if they don't see the holes on the beach.
Town leaders say they simply don't have enough resources to fill in the holes or to enforce the ordinance as it's written. They have to rely on education.
"We're just asking the public to fill these holes every day," said Thomas. "If someone falls in, and gets knocked out unconscious, and the tide comes up, they could drown! That's the worst case scenario but that could happen."
Thomas says that town leaders plan to add more signs to educate the public and remind them to clean up the beach before they leave.
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