Published: Aug 04, 2011 7:28 PM EDT
Updated: Aug 04, 2011 6:28 PM EDT

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The mother of a teenage boy buried in the collapse of a sand cave on a California beach is thanking bystanders and emergency responders who came to his rescue.
    
Melissa Mina of Free Union, Va., told The Associated Press on Thursday that she is grateful to everyone that her son Matt is alive.
    
Seventeen-year-old Matt Mina was buried in the collapse of a deep hole he dug in the sand at Newport Beach on Wednesday.
    
Beachgoers sprang to his aid, using anything available to dig for him. Firefighters and lifeguards eventually got him out.
    
Melissa Mina says she asked her son by phone how it felt to be buried alive and he commented on how heavy the sand was.
    
Matt Mina is visiting an aunt and uncle in Southern California.

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