After the loss of a Florida man in a sinkhole collapse last week, another man, this time in Waterloo, Illinois, was swallowed by the Earth into a 18-foot deep hole under the Fairway of the Annbriar Golf Course.Course workers were able to rescue him from the hole, but he did dislocate his shoulder, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Tuesday. He was on the 14th hole when he suddenly disappeared.
When the rest of his foursome rushed up to where he had been, they saw a sinkhole a few feet wide — the ground had caved in and Mark had fallen 18 feet into the Earth.
Mark Mihal’s wife Lori wrote about his experience on the website golfmanna, which he co-founded:
“I felt the ground start to collapse and it happened so fast that I couldn’t do anything,” Mark said later. “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. The real scary part was I didn’t know when I would hit bottom and what I would land on.”
Mark landed in mud at the bottom of the sinkhole, which was approximately 10′ wide.
“Looking up, it appeared to be shaped like a bell,” he said.
Lori reports that Mark was beginning to panic, because he is claustrophobic and the news story about the Florida man who was recently swallowed when a sinkhole opened under his bedroom. (That man hasn’t been found and is presumed dead).
Mark was underground for about 20 minutes as they rescued him using a ladder. One of his golfing buddies, Ed Magaletta, climbed down to secure his arm and help him up the ladder.
“It reminds me of the movie Space Jam when Michael Jordan was playing golf and disappeared into the ground,” Lori Mihal wrote on Golfmanna.com. “We’re very fortunate that Mark wasn’t injured worse than he was – or even killed.”
They should also be glad he wasn’t made a basketball slave by a disparate group of monster aliens.
Lori shared these pictures of the hole that swallowed Mark. Only the very tip of a 12-foot ladder is visible.
The St. Louis Dispatch talked to a local geologist who examined the sinkhole:
Philip Moss, a geologist who has examined the void, said sinkholes are usually visible. But in this case, Mihal said he was standing still as the ground gave way beneath him.
“This guy just really was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Moss said.
Sinkholes are common in the St. Louis region, he said, because the bedrock here is limestone.
Sinkholes form where the bedrock is soft and can be washed away by rain. Here’s a list of some of the other places in the U.S. and around the world where sinkholes are common.
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