Hiroki Demura and his wife, Risa, both 23, were confirmed to have died of suffocation at a hospital in Kahoku, Ishikawa prefecture, early Sunday morning, about two hours after rescuers had extracted them from the beachside pit the wife had made for her husband.
Police said Demura had gone to the beach on Saturday with a group of friends and began digging a pit which she told them she was going to use to surprise her husband for his birthday. Demura and her friends worked on the pit for hours, then covered it with a tarpaulin and a layer of sand on top of that.
Demura returned to her home in Kanazawa, picked up her husband and took him back to the beach to show him the pit. But it was already dark by this time, and the couple slipped into the hole after mistaking its exact location, police said. The sand covering the tarpaulin fell in on top of them and the pit collapsed, encompassing them.
Friends of the couple tried desperately to dig them out and were aided by paramedics who arrived on the scene within minutes of being alerted almost an hour after the couple fell. It took about one hour of digging to extract the couple, who were then rushed to a nearby hospital, where their deaths were confirmed.
The couple had married only earlier this year.