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Man, 37, Dies in 'Tragic Accident' After Sand Dune Collapses on Him at Beach: 'Still in Disbelief'

Sean Nagel
Sean Nagel

Facebook Sean Nagel

Family and friends are mourning the death of a man whose body was discovered beneath a collapsed sand dune in Florida on Sunday morning.

According to the Martin County Sheriff's Office, a Hutchinson Island beach visitor spotted a body underneath the sand and called emergency services. The victim, later identified by loved ones as Sean Nagel, likely died hours before he was found.

"It appears that the man died hours earlier from asphyxia as a result of being trapped underneath the sand," the department said in a statement.

"Detectives say no foul play was evident, and it appears that the victim was resting underneath a sand dune while taking video of a sunrise, but the dune collapsed, trapping him underneath," officials continued.

Treasure Coast Newspapers reported that a GoPro video camera and a plastic bag were found with Nagel.

When reached by PEOPLE, the MCSO confirmed Nagel was 37 years old.

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The sheriff said investigators are waiting for toxicology results but do not expect it to change their belief that Nagel died in a tragic accident.

In a post on social media, Nagel's brother, Will Nagel, confirmed the news and said the family is planning memorial arrangements.

"I am grief-stricken and still in disbelief to tell you all that my younger brother Sean Alexander Nagel is no longer with us on this earth," Will wrote. "Sean died tragically and accidentally on Sunday August 7th, 2022 when a sand dune at the beach here in Martin County collapsed on top of him."

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"Please remember to enjoy your life and don't take a single second for granted," he ended his post.

Nagel's friend, Brian Defanski, also remembered him in a Facebook message that called him a "brother."

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"I'll never forget skipping school for bagels and throwing two-liter bottles of soda off your roof and adventures through the woods and chats about philosophy and nature and dinosaurs and music," Defanski wrote, "and that stupid loud stereo in your explorer and your leopard hair in middle school and watching titanic at the movies like eight times."

He continued: "I have a lifetime's worth of memories packed into twenty-five years, and I feel bad for anyone who never got to know you. you will forever be missed."