A day at the beach has turned to tragedy for the family of a seven-year-old boy who has died after a hole he was digging collapsed on him at a Northland beach.

District operations manager for St John Ambulance Tony Devanney said the boy was digging a hole at about 1.30pm on Pataua South beach when the sand collapsed on him, suffocating him.

Beach-goers and ambulance staff attempted to resuscitate the boy, but he could not be saved, Mr Devanney said.

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