3 People Fall and Get Stuck in a Gigantic Sinkhole in a Front Yard. "It's Like Quicksand"

Collapse caught on doorbell camera.

Three people were stuck when a giant sinkhole opened in front of a suburban New York home, forcing them to be rescued by authorities. The ten-foot-by-eight-foot hole suddenly appeared in the front yard of a Huntington Station, New York, trapping 71-year-old Luz Bedoya as she walked out of the house on her way to work before dawn last Thursday. Read on to find out what happened that morning, and what authorities believe may have caused the sinkhole to appear.

Doorbell Camera Caught Collapse

ring doorbell mounted outside home

Just after 6 a.m., Suffolk County police responded to a report of a woman stuck in a hole in the ground. When they showed up, they found the woman and two other people—and man and a woman—in the hole, NBC New York reported. Bedoya fell into the hole as she walked out the front door in the darkness. Doorbell video shows her exiting the front door when the ground beneath her feet suddenly gave way. Bedoya screamed for help and ultimately used her cellphone to call for assistance.

"It's Like Quicksand, Right?"

NBC New York

A man and a woman ran out of the house to help Bedoya, but they also ended up falling into the sinkhole. Homeowner Benjamin Orengo discovered all three — including his wife — trapped in the hole, with mud reaching above their knees. "Really scared. They were worried about going down. I tell them don't move. It's like quicksand, right?" he told NBC New York. 

"It Could Have Been Worse"

NBC New York

Orengo grabbed an extension cord and a ladder, and he and two Suffolk County police officers, he rescued the three who were trapped. They were taken to a hospital for evaluation. Bedoya experienced only minor injuries, while one of the three was unhurt. "Everybody is doing OK, thank God…It could have been worse," said Orengo.

Causes Unclear

Fox 5 New York

Officials aren't sure what caused the sinkhole. Huntington's building inspector was called in to examine the area and determine a potential cause. It may have been weather-related; there were heavy rains in the area on Wednesday afternoon and evening. Huntington town inspectors told NBC New York that a water pipe leak and that heavy rain my have caused the ground to collapse. The investigation is continuing. 

Why Do Sinkholes Happen?

NY1 News

In the last few years, sinkholes have opened in yards and streets in Texas, New Jersey, and Oregon, among other areas. According to National Geographic, sinkholes may be natural or manmade. They may happen when water erodes rock underneath, creating a void and causing the surface to collapse. Manmade sinkholes occur when construction compromises the rock, causing water to collect and erode the supporting rock. Scientists believe that global warming is increasing the frequency of sinkholes.

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