Eight-year-old buried under six tonnes of sand

A young boy in Perth has escaped unharmed after nearly being buried alive.

Riley, eight, was playing with two other children in a hole in his backyard when he became trapped.

The experience was a nightmare for Riley's dad, Matt Stiles.

"To hear your boy screaming, 'Don't let me die Dad, don't let me die', I actually thought we were gonna lose him," Mr Stiles told Newshub. "I thought, "This is my boy." I thought we were gonna lose you, kiddo."

Riley was playing in a two-metre trench when the walls gave way and the dirt caved in. He was buried under six tonnes of sand and debris, some covering his head, and he was unable to breathe.

"I thought I was gonna die," Riley says.

After his brother ran to raise the alarm, Riley's father jumped into the ditch beside him.

"I just dug frantically just to get him some air," says Mr Stiles.

Riley's terrified mother called emergency services , barely able to get out the words.

It was only the start of Riley and his family's long ordeal. The delicate rescue took four hours. Firemen first had to reinforce the trench to prevent further collapse, then scooped buckets and buckets of dirt out of the hole.

Eventually Riley was freed to the delight of his distraught parents who thought they'd lost him for good.

"It was just like him being born again," says Riley's mother.

Riley was unharmed, with a new lease on life on a day he could have been buried alive.