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Dip in Pasco sinkhole ends in drowning

HUDSON — Looking for a place to hang out Saturday afternoon, Linda Finer and Sharon Allred pulled their golf cart around a small gate and into a small wood near the mobile home park where they lived.

Both Finer, 45, and Allred, 46, had been drinking, according to a Pasco Sheriff's Office report.

About 100 feet into the wood, they found a sinkhole the size of a small pool surrounded by trees.

Finer told Allred she wanted to swim, the report said. She jumped into the water, which is shallow around the edges but goes as deep as 35 feet in some spots.

After a short while, Finer didn't come back up, the report said. Allred panicked. She ran to find two friends for help.

When they returned, the report said, Finer's body was floating along the east bank of the sinkhole. One man pulled Finer out of the water. She wasn't breathing.

One of Finer's friends tried mouth-to-mouth resuscitation while another ran to call 911, the report said. She could not be revived.

Finer, of 14417 U.S. 19, Lot 39, in Hudson, was pronounced dead at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point about 2:10 p.m. Saturday. Toxicology results were not immediately available.

The friends who helped could not be reached Monday.

The sinkhole at 7241 Stevens Drive, dubbed by divers as the "School Sink" or "Wayne's World," is owned by a local chapter of the National Speleological Society, which uses the property for cave diving.

Though no signs at the hole say so, the bottom of the hole opens into an underwater cave, said Paul Heinerth, the group's property manager. Only the most experienced divers may try "Wayne's World" — Heinerth requires every diver to have completed at least 100 dives.

Heinerth believes people trespass on the property almost every day. He says he's put up "No Trespassing" signs, only to see them knocked down.

"You would think that logic would let them know that they shouldn't be there," he said. "But there are still some people that would go to have a look."

Nomaan Merchant can be reached at nmerchant@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6244.

Dip in Pasco sinkhole ends in drowning 08/04/08 [Last modified: Thursday, August 7, 2008 3:18pm]
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