A man was found dead Thursday afternoon, hours after a sinkhole opened up in an inground swimming pool at a private home in central Israel, with the receding water dragging him away along with another man who managed to climb his way out.
Search teams at the scene in the town of Karmei Yosef found the body following a complex rescue operation that took four hours and required the assistance of Go-Pro cameras hooked to the helmets of the staff workers as they were lowered deep underground
Fire and Rescue Services said the search was complicated by fears that tunnels branching out of the sinkhole could cause a secondary collapse.
Rescue forces built a support structure to prevent the pool’s surface from further collapsing on them before they were able to locate the missing man’s body.
The incident occurred during a pool party held for employees of a private company.
Rescue teams dispatched to the scene earlier assisted a 34-year-old man who managed to climb out. He suffered light injuries to his lower body and was treated at the scene by paramedics.
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Meanwhile, emergency services were also scanning the area for other sinkholes. Police said they had dispatched a helicopter to aid in the search effort.
Speaking to Channel 12, one of the people who had attended the pool party said there were roughly 50 people at the scene when disaster struck.
“The water level suddenly started receding and a hole opened up, creating a vortex that swept two people inside.”
Another witness told the Ynet news site that the vortex swallowed up the victim in a matter of seconds and that there could’ve been additional casualties but that only six people were in the pool at the time.
As the sinkhole opened up, she shouted at her colleagues to get out of the pool but they initially thought it was some sort of game.
“Seconds later, the ground just dropped… I watched two people just disappear,” she added.
Police announced later Thursday evening that they were opening an investigation into the death and were looking into whether the pool was operated with the proper licensing.