BY Amanda Thomason, The Western JournalJanuary 12, 2023
1 year ago

'High-Risk' Rescue: Cars Fall Into Growing Sinkhole as Rainwater Begins to Fill Hole

California has been hit with intense rain and flooding, leaving many scrambling for higher ground and attempting to weather the storms.

On Monday evening, a 15-foot sinkhole opened up in the middle of a road in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Chatsworth.

A car carrying a mother and her young daughter was swallowed up by the hole as it continued to grow and shift, KCAL-TV in Los Angeles reported. The car began to roll, and a pickup truck landed on top of them, trapping them in the unstable feature.

To add to the danger, water continued to pour into the crevice and began to fill the hole. The passengers in the truck were able to get to safety, but the mother and daughter in the car below were unable to free themselves.

The Los Angeles Fire Department said in a news release that it was alerted about the issue around 7:20 p.m., and about 50 firefighters from multiple departments arrived to handle the risky scenario.

The rescue crews worked to try to stabilize the car, which was continuing to roll as the ground deteriorated more. Eventually, they were able to use a high-angle rope rescue to extract both passengers.

"Using the aerial ladder to position the rescuers over the hole, a high-angle rope rescue operation was used to lower a firefighter down so they could secure the victim with a harness and then be raised back up to the surface while the ladder rotated around to safe ground," the department said in the release.

"Crews executed this operation smoothly and safely rescued both patients."

The entire mission took about an hour. Once the two passengers were safely removed, they were taken to the hospital with only minor injuries.

"In a 'high-risk operation,' the Los Angeles Fire Department, working with LA County Firefighters and the Ventura County Fire Department rescue a young girl and her mother," Robert Kovacik with KNBC-TV posted on Facebook.

"The warning now that the sinkhole will only expand here on Iverson, that just happens to be adjacent to The Church at Rocky Peak."

The sinkhole continued to grow, and by Tuesday it was over 30 feet wide and 40 feet deep, according to KABC-TV. A pipeline that ran through the same area had started to leak sewage into the hole as well.

By Tuesday night, the wrecked remains of the cars were removed from the hole by an excavator, but it will be some time before the area is safe again.

"The road will remain closed for an undetermined period while the appropriate city agencies evaluate it and determine the repairs required," the Los Angeles Fire Department said.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

Written by: Amanda Thomason, The Western Journal

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