Woman rescued after falling into 25-foot sinkhole in California

ByRob McMillan KABC logo
Friday, February 9, 2024
Woman rescued after falling down 25-foot sinkhole in Fontana
A woman was rescued by firefighters and search-and-rescue team members after becoming trapped in a 25-foot-deep sinkhole in Fontana.

FONTANA, Calif. -- A woman was rescued after becoming trapped in a 25-foot-deep sinkhole in Fontana, California on Thursday morning.

The incident was reported just outside a mobile home, prompting an urgent response from firefighters and an urban search-and-rescue team.

The woman's disappearance was discovered when her children noticed that she was missing. Their father, who was at work at the time, was contacted and immediately rushed home.

Shortly after 10:15 a.m., the San Bernardino County Fire Department said the woman was "awake and talking."

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Initial photos released by the fire department showed firefighters and search-and-rescue team members lowering cables into the hole. The woman was not visible in the photos.

A firefighter, attached to a cable, was lowered into the hole as part of an attempt to hoist the woman out.

Shortly after 10:30 a.m., firefighters at ground level began slowly retracting the cable that was attached to a winch on the back of a fire department vehicle.

About an hour later, the firefighter and the woman emerged from the sinkhole, and she was placed in an ambulance, which transported her from the scene.

San Bernardino officials later said the hole was an old septic tank that was no longer in use.

When the woman walked over the top of the septic tank, the ground gave way, along with the concrete top of the tank.