Sinkhole swallows 71-year-old woman, 2 trying to rescue her

Published: Feb. 6, 2023 at 1:10 AM MST
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HUNTINGTON STATION, N.Y. (WCBS) - Three people from New York were rescued after falling into a sinkhole in their front yard, and now, they’re trying to figure out what caused the ground to open up.

A typical morning for 71-year-old Luz Bedoya took a terrifying turn. As she was leaving home for work Jan. 26 around 6 a.m., she fell into a sinkhole that had opened up in her front yard, right near the walkway to the house.

Police say the hole is about six feet wide by six feet deep.

“She thought the ground was going to eat her, you know? Sink in through the ground,” said homeowner Benjamin Orengo, who lives at the Long Island property with his wife and friends, including Bedoya.

Orengo translated for Bedoya as she described her experience.

“She was screaming and asking for help. But she knew nobody was going to answer. It was too dark,” he translated. “But she realized she had her phone in her hand.”

Bedoya called her friends and family from the hole. Two people, one of them Orengo’s wife, rushed out to help her but also toppled in.

“They grab each other and hold on the side,” Orengo said.

Liliana Garcia, Bedoya’s daughter, hurried to the home after getting a call from her mom.

“When I arrived, all the police, all the ambulance was here. So, I was scared because I thought the worst, you know?” she said.

Police say one officer reached into the hole and pulled one person out. The others climbed a ladder. All three were treated at the hospital and are now back home.

“She’s glad that she’s OK and that everybody’s OK,” Orengo said.

It’s unclear why the sinkhole formed.

The Town of Huntington did an inspection and found no violations. A spokesperson said it could be related to irrigation lines at the home and heavy rain, but that remains to be seen.

Because it is private property, it will be up to the homeowner to determine the cause and get it fixed.