A sinkhole swallowed a golfer who was just standing in the middle of the fairway partaking in a foursome with friends. This sinkhole came without warning, as one minute Mark Mihal was talking with friends and the next minute his golf buddies heard him moaning in pain, but they couldn't see him, according to ABC News on Wednesday March 13, 2013.
Mihal said the sinkhole opened up right under his feet and it felt like he was falling for quite some time. He grabbed the ground with his hand, but that also gave way sending him 18 feet down into the earth.
Mihal's friends ran to the golf shop and told the general manager their friend had just fallen into a hole. Russ Nobbe of the Annbriar Golf Course loaded rope and a ladder onto a cart and headed off to rescue Mihal. Because he dislocated his shoulder in the fall, Mihal couldn't climb out of the hole on his own. One of his golf buddies climbed down into the sinkhole and tied a rope around him so the group could pull him to safety.
It was Mihal's friends and the Nobbe who got him out of the hole. When one of the men in the golfing group was interviewed he said they thought about waiting for first responders because the hole was so deep, but they feared it would get deeper or fall in on their friend. They knew they needed to get him out immediately. Mihal was in the hole for approximately 20 minutes while the other men worked at getting him out.
While sinkholes are prevalent in Florida, this was in Waterloo, Illinois. Phillip Moss, geologist who knows the area well, said that Waterloo is an area prone to soil collapses. Moss is an expert on sinkholes and his explanation of Mihal falling into the sinkhole was “He just couldn't have picked worse timing.”
The next rain might have opened up the sinkhole, but unfortunately it just happened to collapse with Mihal directly on top of it. Moss called this “an extremely freakish case.” He said a person would have a better chance at winning the lottery than falling into a sinkhole like Mihal did.