Broken Pipe Causes Sinkhole - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

08/26/04

Broken Pipe Causes Sinkhole

Jesse Rosofsky was getting ready to mow his lawn when all of his sudden the ground gave way beneath his feet and he tumbled into a sinkhole. All it took was one wrong move, and he found himself stuck underground.

"I am surprised I fell in there," he told us. "It looks so big."

Rosofsky had no idea mowing the lawn would be such a hassle. "I moved the lawn mower and fell through the sod, and got my leg caught under a pipe," he said.

The grass looked normal, but underneath, there was a gaping hole. "You could not see me from the road," he said.  "I had to throw dirt at passing cars to get them to stop."

The sinkhole is pretty deep and about the size of a grave. Rosofsky had his cell phone on and called for help, but he was afraid a small child would have seen a worse fate.

County officials came out to survey the damage, and couldn't believe their eyes. "In the last seven years, I have never seen this," said Chatham County Department of Public Works maintenance director Ron Belanger.

He blames the sinkhole on an underground pipe. There was a hole in the pipe, which acted like a vacuum, sucking the soil in, leaving a void under the sod.

It was Rosofsky who took the fall, telling us, "What a freak accident."

"Any cave-in is dangerous, but this one could have been very dangerous," said Belanger.

With the help of a neighbor and the Savannah Fire Department, Rosofsky was pulled to safety after about 30 minutes. Thirty minutes he hopes no one else will ever go through. "Could have been my coffin, but it wasn't," he said.

Rosofsky wasn't hurt, suffering just a few scratches on his foot. Public works crews say the broken pipe is isolated to only that area. They put cameras in the line, and no other holes have been detected.

The sinkhole should be repaired in the next few days.

Reported by: Don Logana, dlogana@wtoc.com

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