Saturday 23 July 2022

Sinkhole opens up beneath swimming pool in Israel, killing one.

One person has died and another injured after a sinkhole opened up beneath a swimming pool in Israel on Thursday 21 July 2022. Both the victims were male, and were attending a company party at the villa where the pool was located, at Carmel Yosef, 40 km to the southeast of Tel Aviv, when the incident happened. Witnesses report that six people were in the pool when the hole opened, rapidly drawing in all the water in the pool, along with several floating toys and the two victims. Other bathers were able to avoid being drawn in by clinging on to the side of the pool. One of the men drawn into the hole was able to climb out with minor injuries, but the second, identified as Klil Kimhi, 32, from Tel Aviv, was found dead by rescue workers four hours later at the bottom of a fifteen metre pit.

Rescue workers preparing to enter a sinkhole which opened under a swimming pool in Carmel Yosef, Israel, on Thursday 21 July 2022, in search of the body of a man pulled into the hole when it opened. Israel Fire and Rescue Service.

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. Potash, a potassium salt, is readily soluble and can be dissolved quickly if water gains access to deposits, leading to the rapid formation of sinkholes.

While the precise cause of the sinkhole in Carmel Yosef is unknown, the area is known to be prone to such problems, with Neogene alluvial sediments overlying soft Eocene and Cretaceous limestone deposits, and numerous cave systems. Local authorities report that the swimming pool had been built without planning permission, and that the owners of the villa where the pool was located, have been arrested for causing death by negligence, and are now under house arrest pending further investigations.

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