A 43-year-old Missouri man was golfing on Tuesday in southwest Illinois when he suddenly disappeared from sight. The mortgage broker and father was out with two of his friends on the Annbriar Golf Course near Waterloo, Illinois, when he suddenly fell into a sinkhole and vanished.
Mark Mihal described his reaction when the earth swallowed him up on the 14th hole. Mihal says the unfortunate accident happened after he went to investigate a nearby indention on the golf course:
“It didn’t look unstable,” Mihal said. “And then I was gone. I was just free falling. It felt like forever, but it was just a second or two, and I didn’t know what I was going to hit. And all I saw was darkness.”
When Mihal’s friends noticed Mihal was no longer visible, they went to investigate as well. While it appeared that Mihal had simply vanished, friends thought Mihal was playing a trick on them until one of them heard Mihal’s cries for help.
Mihal says he knew he was badly injured and knew he had to get out of the hole quickly. He says his mind flashed to the Jeffrey Bush, who lost his life recently in Florida after his bed was swallowed by a sinkhole.
The sinkhole that swallowed Mihal up measured 18 feet deep by 10 feet wide.
One of Mihal’s friends grabbed a rope, but it was too short, so he jumped in — a risky move — and used his shirt as a sling for Mihal’s dislocated shoulder. Eventually Mihal’s friends were able to pull him to safety after obtaining a ladder from the nearby country club.
Mihal says he’s just glad to be alive, “I felt fortunate I didn’t break both legs, or worse.”
According to the Global Post, sinkholes in that part of Illinois are rather common as the ground is prone to erosion because of it’s limestone surface.