A woman in California fell into a 25-foot-deep sinkhole at her home in Fontana, just outside of Los Angeles.
The woman's children noticed she was missing and contacted their father, who left work to help, according to reports.
Just after 10 a.m. on Wednesday rescue crews arrived to find the woman "awake and talking" while trapped down in the hole. They discovered that the hole was caused by an old septic tank that was no longer in use, and wasn't reinforced properly. The woman fell into the sinkhole as she walked over the ground and it collapsed beneath her, along with the concrete on top of the old tank.
Fontana(Update): USAR team has established a rescue system. Rescuer has made entry. pic.twitter.com/QOGztj9p4f
— San Bernardino County Fire (@SBCOUNTYFIRE) February 8, 2024
Rescue workers set up a frame over the hole and lowered a firefighter down to pull the woman out to safety. A neighbor told KABC she appeared to be in fear when she came out, and was crying.
The San Bernardino County Fire Department said the woman, 40, was pulled out of the hole and taken to a local hospital to be evaluated. Her identity was not immediately released, with rescue workers citing HIPAA rules for patient privacy.
San Bernardino County Fire spokesperson Eric Sherwin said rescue crews had to act fast in the confined space. Sherwin said because there was a lack of reinforcements, the ground walls around the victim at that depth could have caved in, engulfing the victim as well as rescue workers.
Sherwin said the woman reportedly suffered some injuries to her legs, but no further details of her condition were confirmed.
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