Sinkhole in one! Golfer saved after earth swallows him
Mark Mihal plunged 18ft into hole after ground opened up during round of golf in Illinois
A GOLFER in America has survived being swallowed by a sinkhole that opened up beneath him as he played a round on a course in Illinois. Mark Mihal suffered a dislocated shoulder after plunging 18ft into the hole and had to be hauled by rope to safety.
The incident happened on the 14th hole of the Annbriar Golf Club near the town of Waterloo. According to Associated Press, the golfer spotted an "unusual depression" in the middle of the fairway and went to investigate. "It didn’t look unstable," he said. "And then I was gone. I was just free-falling."
Recounting his unexpected hole-in-one, Mihal told website Golfmanna: "I felt the ground start to collapse and it happened so fast that I couldn't do anything... I reached for the ground as I was going down and it gave way, too. It seemed like I was falling for a long time.”
He eventually landed in mud at the bottom of the hole.
Golfmanna, co-founded by Mihal, reported that his playing partners did not initially realise what had happened until they heard his moans, and went to investigate.
"Mark has always been claustrophobic. He was beginning to panic and was in shock; he was also in excruciating pain," said Mihal's wife, Lori.
Unable to find a long enough ladder to reach Mihal, one of his fellow players, Ed Magaletta, eventually clambered down into the hole using a rope. He put Mihal's arm in a sling and helped hoist him to safety before being pulled from the hole himself.
"While disturbing, such sinkholes aren't uncommon in southwestern Illinois, where old underground mines cause the earth to settle," explained AP. Geologist Sam Panno said the Annbriar sinkhole had been caused when acidic rainwater dissolved limestone below the surface.
Earlier this month, a man died in Florida when a sinkhole opened up beneath his home. ·