Indoor sinkhole swallows manPublished May 22, 2013
A New Jersey forklift operator’s shift took a terrifying turn Monday when a massive sinkhole opened up in the middle of the warehouse, swallowing the forklift and the operator.
The Bronx, N.Y., man and his forklift sank into the 40 foot-by-40 foot indoor hole Monday afternoon in the East Rutherford warehouse rented by AM Express Freight, according to The Record newspaper of New Jersey.
The hole quickly filled with cooking oil and soy sauce that was stored in the warehouse.
The forklift operator, identified by the Record as Bronx resident Danny Rodriguez, was taken to a hospital and treated for a back injury.
Although Rodriguez was badly shaken, rescue officials say the forklift appears to have broken his fall, saving him from much more serious injury. The forklift plunged straight downwards with Rodriguez still on it, rather than flipping over and falling on top of him, which would have crushed him, rescue workers said.
The building was evacuated and the property manager, Bruce Jordan, told the newspaper he suspects the reinforced concrete slab foundation had given way over a long-forgotten basement under the building. Officials are still investigating and have not released a cause.
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