Posted by Laura
Just when you thought it was safe to open a newspaper… The rapscallions of silly season leap out from behind columns and headlines to bite the unsuspecting reader and awaken them from their no-news-snooze.
Summer is indeed a torrid time for journalists – with only Big Brother, the weather and a few tidbits of general interest to tide them over the desolate news desert that lies before them. That’s when the so-fictional-they’re-true news stories come out; articles that are so ridiculous, outlandish or, frankly, nonsensical they are just begging to be read.
So when we heard about the story of America’s killer sandcastles in the Guardian and the Telegraph, we just had to investigate further.
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, holes in the sand dug by bucket-and-spade-toting children and tourists have accounted for 16 deaths in the States since 1990 – more than the death toll from shark attacks, which stands at 12.
Unsuspecting beach-dwellers are falling into the holes, ending up submerged when the walls cave in. The journal reports that beach patrols in Massachusetts are taking the deadly dangers seriously enough to ban the digging of holes.
Would the same happen on British beaches? Most people have at least one anecdote about falling into a cunningly-dug beach pit or being buried up to their neck in sand. Perhaps the prospect of killer sandcastles could end this holiday ‘hilarity’ forever.
Judging by the other news of the day this seems unlikely, however. Britons need to be able to get near a beach in the first place in order to get digging – and the colder, wetter weather coming our way looks sure to put a dampener on that for the time being.
At least that gives us journalists one more story to keep us in business while the news drought continues. People will never get sick of reading about the weather – especially when there are 140,000 campers braving the elements under canvas in Somerset during one of the dampest June weekends we’ve had in a long time.