A woman in Perth, Australia, has escaped serious injury after a sinkhole opened up in her back yard as she was hanging clothes on the line to dry. Although the sinkhole is miniscule in size, compared to the ones discovered in Russia, it was large enough to swallow the woman and give her quite the fright.
The 53 year old woman, unnamed, was going about her daily routine when the ground opened up below her and swallowed her whole. According to Perth Now, she screamed for help for at least twenty minutes before anyone came to her rescue. She was assisting an elderly woman, named Mary, with chores when the incident occurred. When help arrived, they anxiously worked to dig the woman out, fearing that the hole would collapse upon itself and bury her alive. For a short time, the woman's head was underwater until she was able to hold her head above water and call for help.
Rescuers believed the sinkhole to be the product of a burst water pipe. They quickly warned neighbors to be careful, fearing more sinkholes could open up, until they were able to detect the exact source. However, when the woman was finally freed, they found the sinkhole to be an old well that was capped off. Over time, the cover had deteriorated and eventually gave way under the woman's feet, a spokesperson for the council reported.
"The well a number of years ago was covered up, but not too satisfactorily and (the cover) degraded over the years to the point where the lady has fallen through."
The Huffington Post reported that the hole was three meters deep and the water inside was waste deep. A paramedic on the scene reported that she had to tread water because she could not reach the bottom.
"She fell with the dirt and mud, dropping about three metres and landing in waist-deep water. At one stage her head was under the water. The woman told us she couldn't touch the bottom of the hole, so was trying to swim and stay afloat to avoid the risk of further mud collapses."
[Photo Courtesy of Perth Now]