Couple dies as birthday prank goes wrong

A young couple has died in Kahoku, Ishikawa Prefecture, after falling into a hole on a beach that was dug as a birthday prank for the husband, police said. One of the couple’s friends called a fire station at about 10:45 p.m. Saturday and said company employee Yuki Demura, 23, and his wife Risa, 23, had fallen in the hole on Osaki beach. Rescue workers pulled the couple out about an hour later. They were taken to a hospital but were confirmed dead shortly afterward, police said.

The couple’s upper bodies were covered by sand, police said. They are believed to have suffocated.

Risa and five friends of the couple reportedly dug the 2.4-meter-square and 2.5-meter-deep hole Saturday afternoon as a surprise for Yuki, whose birthday was on Sept. 1. They put a sheet over the hole and covered the sheet with sand, they said.

A mat was found inside the hole, and shovels and a ladder were close by.

Risa is believed to have brought Yuki to the beach from their house at night and fallen into the hole with him at about 10 p.m.