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. Philippines forces make gains in city under siege by ISIS-linked militants

    MARAWI, Philippines — Philippine forces say they now control most of a southern city where militants linked to the Islamic State group launched a bloody siege nearly a week ago.

  2. Rays exhausted but happy after 15-inning win over Twins (w/video)

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — Before the Rays eventually won Sunday's 6½-hour, 15-inning marathon against the Twins 8-6, they did plenty to lose it. And we need to get that out of the way first.

    The Rays’ Evan Longoria enjoys a laugh after scoring, barely, to tie it in the ninth on Steven Souza Jr.’s two-out single.
  3. Tom Jones' Two Cents: ABC's Indy 500 coverage is stellar again

    TV and Radio

    Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best coverage

    Takuma Sato left, celebrates after winning the Indianapolis 500 as Helio Castroneves is a little late passing him. ABC’s coverage of the race is stellar throughout, with plenty of extras but no fake drama.
  4. Takuma Sato surprise winner of wreck-filled Indy 500

    Auto racing

    INDIANAPOLIS — Takuma Sato, a journeyman driver, became the first Japanese winner of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday when he held off three-time champion Helio Castroneves in a 230-mph wheel-rubbing duel to the finish.

    Scott Dixon’s car goes over the top of Jay Howard, soaring so high that Helio Castroneves drove under it while it was airborne. Stunningly, there were no serious injuries.
  5. South Korea military: North Korea fires unidentified projectile


    SEOUL — North Korea launched a ballistic missile early today that flew 280 miles and landed in Japan's exclusive economic zone, the South Korean military and the Japanese government said.

    S. Korean President Moon Jae-in is assessing the launch.