Woman falls into 9ft sinkhole in garden

A 45-year-old woman fell into a 9ft sinkhole while hanging out washing in a Melbourne backyard. She had to swim to stay afloat in the sinkhole.

The woman was hanging clothes in the Springvale South backyard when the ground gave way. She fell 3m into the grass sinkhole, which was part-filled with water. Paramedic Stephanie Palamberis said that the woman’s head went under the waist-deep water at one stage and she was forced to swim because she couldn’t touch the bottom.

“She fell with the dirt and mud, dropping about three metres and landing in waist-deep water,” she said. “The woman told us she couldn’t touch the bottom of the hole, so was trying to swim and stay afloat, to avoid the risk of further mud collapses.”

Specialist firefighting equipment was used to pull the woman from the hole, 10 minutes after authorities arrived after being alerted by neighbours who heard the woman’s screams. The woman was not injured and there was no damage to surrounding buildings.

Country Fire Authority officer Paul Carrigg said: “This was a very unusual incident. Fortunately the lady has escaped without injury though she was obviously shaken up.”

He added: “We have doorknocked all residents in the street and advised them to stay indoors until council engineers investigate further.


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