Tuesday 31 December 2013

Pickup truck swallowed by sinkhole on Big Island, Hawaii.

A pickup truck and its driver were swallowed by a sinkhole on the Pohakea Mauka Road near Paauilo on the northeast coast of Big Island, Hawaii, at about 8.00 am local time (about 6.00 pm GMT) on Monday 30 December 2013. The driver of the vehicle, Velma Deluz, was able to climb out of the hole herself, but was described by relatives as 'severly shaken' by the event, and received hospital treatment for her injuries.

The vehicle inside the hole on Pohakea Mauka Road on 30 December 2013. Hawaii Civil Defence Agency.

Sinkholes are generally caused by water eroding soft limestone or unconsolidated deposits from beneath, causing a hole that works its way upwards and eventually opening spectacularly at the surface. Where there are unconsolidated deposits at the surface they can infill from the sides, apparently swallowing objects at the surface, including people, without trace. It is thought that on this occasion the sinkhole was caused by a leak from a culvert carrying rainwater beneath the road, which washed away the surrounding soil, undermining the road, following a night of severe rain.

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