Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Other dangerous sinkholes

While sinkholes are common in Florida, sinkholes that swallow people are not. Below are some notable incidents in the past half century.

April 9, 2011

Johnn Clyde Smith, 52, an experienced well driller, dies after a sinkhole opens beneath him and his truck falls on top of him. Smith was drilling near Trenton, in North Florida. The sides of the 35-foot sinkhole kept collapsing, making recovery of the body difficult. Smith was buried under five feet of dirt.

March 28, 2011

Carla Chapman, 47, falls into a sinkhole in her back yard in Plant City. She uses her cell phone to call for help. Inside the hole, she has difficulty breathing, choking on sand and mud. She is in the hole, about 2 feet wide and 5 feet deep, at least 25 minutes before a police officer pulls her out. This is not the first time Chapman has plummeted into the earth. A year earlier, she was swallowed by another sinkhole in her back yard, immobilizing her for two hours until a neighbor heard her screams.

June 17, 2008

Emilce Gomez, 47, is driving through standing water when her blue Toyota Corolla falls into a sinkhole in the eastbound lanes of the Rickenbacker Causeway in Miami. The hole resulted from a water-main break. Gomez is not seriously injured.

July 15, 1999

Oscar Alvarez and his Jeep Cherokee quickly sink into the deep water of a sinkhole that opens up on Busch Boulevard in Tampa after an underground water main bursts. Alvarez is pulled from his car by passers-by. He is not injured.

Dec. 17, 1968

One person is killed and five injured when the northbound two-lane span of the U.S. 19 Anclote River Bridge in Tarpon Springs collapses, apparently because of an underwater sinkhole. Two cars plunge 30 feet into the river and others crash into the bridge. Jane Simson, 28, is killed when her car hits the collapsed section and is hurtled through the air into another section of the bridge.

May 1959

A well-driller's helper suffocates when he is buried in a sinkhole near Keystone Heights in north-central Florida.

Times researcher Natalie Watson contributed to this report.

Other dangerous sinkholes 03/01/13 [Last modified: Friday, March 1, 2013 8:35pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Names released in Clearwater crash involving helicopter, plane


    CLEARWATER — Authorities released more details Monday about the crash involving a helicopter and airplene over the weekend at the Clearwater Air Park.

    Clearwater Fire Department emergency personal are seen dousing a plan with fire retardant after the plane crashed into a helicopter at Clearwater Air Park 1000 N Hercules Avenue Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017. According to Clearwater Fire two patients sustained minor injuries. Photo by Clearwater Fire
  2. Cannon Fodder podcast: Bucs-Vikings review


    Greg Auman looks back on Sunday's 34-17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings in the latest edition of our Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast.

    Quarterback Jameis Winston is sacked during the first half of the Bucs' 34-17 loss to the Vikings. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  3. Target raising minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020


    NEW YORK — Target Corp. is raising its minimum hourly wage for its workers to $11 starting next month and then to $15 by the end of 2020 in a move it says will help it better recruit and retain top-quality staff and provide a better shopping experience for its customers.

    Target Corp. is raising its minimum hourly wage for its workers to $11 starting next month and then to $15 by the end of 2020
[File photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]
  4. Opioid Summit looks to focus on solutions to crisis


    TAMPA — An upcoming conference about the opioid crisis will offer information and resources that healthcare officials and government leaders say can help dispel stigmas related to addiction and help those afflicted seek treatment.

    Earlier this year, Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency, unlocking $27 million in federal funds for prevention, treatment and recovery services to combat the opioid addiction crisis.
  5. Deputies: Dade City man admitted to pouring hot water on 2-year-old


    A Dade City man was arrested after he admitted he poured scalding water on a 2-year-old, deputies said.

    Jonathan Lee Howard, 26, of Dade City, was arrrested after deputies say he  admitted to pouring scalding water on a 2-year-old. [Pasco County Sheriff's Office]