07/23/2014 10:25 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Man Buried Alive In Sand Tunnel Collapse Was 'A Perfect Son': Family

A Northern California family is reeling from the tragic loss of their son, who died Monday evening after a sand tunnel collapsed on him at the beach.

Relatives say Adam Pye, 26, of San Lorenzo, was a hard worker and recent college graduate with a bright future ahead of him.

"A perfect son, a perfect brother, a perfect friend... a perfect cousin," Adam's mother, Debra Pye, said in a tearful interview with KTVU.

Pye and his friends were on a camping trip, and had been digging sand tunnels at Francis State Beach in Half Moon Bay on Monday when a 10-foot-deep passage collapsed on top of him, according to the Associated Press.

"The girls came out of their tunnel, his tunnel caved in and they turned around and said, 'Where's Adam, where's Adam?'" Kevin Pye, the man's father, told KTVU.

Witnesses said dozens of beachgoers rushed to help, some with buckets, others with just their bare hands. Others called for help. Responders arrived within minutes. Ultimately, more than 30 firefighters from San Mateo County came to help dig Pye out, according to NBC Bay Area.

Pye was unconscious when responders arrived. Although they were able to quickly clear the man's head and airway, they were unable to pull him out of the sand for another half hour. Pye did not survive.

A Facebook page has been set up in his memory.

"He touched so many lives and lived with a constant smile," it read.

Fire crews filled in the holes on the beach so that people would not fall in.

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