Three Saved from Terrifying Sinkhole Collapse
By Chris O'Neill
Three Huntington residents were saved after falling into a sinkhole - in the dark - that suddenly opened-up just outside their front door last week. The sinkhole was over 8 feet deep and 10 feet wide.
Luz Bedoya, age 71, left her house in the dark at 6AM, to go to work, when the ground disappeared and she tumbled into a deep muddy hole that opened just feet from the front door. This was captured on doorbell video.
Her screaming drew out two more residents of the home, who quickly ran outside to help her, only to fall into the same sinkhole.
All three were stuck - trapped up to their thighs - screaming - in a quagmire slime of oozing mud.
A neighbor, Benjamin Orengo, rushed over and told the three not to move - that maybe the gooey mud was like quicksand, and could swallow them. Then, he called the Suffolk Police.
When the police arrived, they pulled the three out using an electrical cord and a ladder. Thankfully, none of the three were seriously injured.
The Town Building Inspector is now evaluating the property to find out what caused the sinkhole.
Sinkholes can be caused by changes to the hydrologic system – namely the addition or removal of significant amounts of water in the earth consequently causing the ground to become temporarily unstable.
The present working hypotheses is that a water pipe leak, coupled with last week's heavy rain, might have caused the sinkhole.
Sinkholes rarely occur on Long Island because of its geological make-up – mostly glacial till - with a lack of underlying rock types that are susceptible to dissolution in water.