Man Escapes 18-Foot Sinkhole On Illinois Golf Course
By Samantha Abernethy in News on Mar 12, 2013 10:20PM
A Missouri man was on a golf course in southwest Illinois when a sinkhole opened beneath his feet and swallowed him down. Insert obvious "hole-in-one" joke here.
“I was standing in the middle of the fairway,” said golfer Mark Mihal. “Then, all of a sudden, before I knew it, I was underground.”
“I felt the ground start to collapse and it happened so fast that I couldn’t do anything,” said Mihal, 43. “I reached for the ground as I was going down and it gave way, too. It seemed like I was falling for a long time. The real scary part was I didn’t know when I would hit bottom and what I would land on.”
His companions and club staff at Annbriar Golf Course had Mihal out of the hole in about 20 minutes, but it was a precarious rescue, as they feared the hole could further collapse either outward or downward.
Mihal's wife Lori Mihal wrote about the rescue on golfmanna.com:
Mark has always been claustrophobic. He was beginning to panic and was in shock; he was also in excruciating pain. The clubhouse respondents brought a 12-foot ladder, which they put down the side of the hole and propped on a mound of mud within it. However, Mark was another six feet below that level and had dislocated his shoulder during the fall; he only had the use of one arm and couldn’t pull himself up to the ladder.
Mark Mihal said the hole "appeared to be shaped like a bell," 18 feet deep and about 10 feet wide. A geologist told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that sinkholes are common in the St. Louis region, due to limestone bedrock, but unlike Mihal's hole, most sinkholes are visible.