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Backhoe, operator swallowed by massive sinkhole

Guadalajara, Jalisco — A backhoe operator, along with his machine, were swallowed by a sinkhole during excavation for a new light rail system.

The unusual incident happened Monday morning around 9:15 a.m. in the city of Guadalajara when the driver of the backhoe was suddenly swallowed by the sandy ground beneath him. The operator was working on removing pavement from Alcalde Avenue when the massive sinkhole suddenly appeared.

Felipe López Sahagún, director of Protección Civil y Bomberos Guadalajara says that after receiving the report around 9:15 a.m., they arrived on site and found a sinkhole about five meters in diameter by 12 meters deep.

“A backhoe 320 with its operator fell inside. The operator was unharmed without any injuries,” said Lopez Sahagún.

Personal de la Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes were on site to determine why and how the sinkhole appeared.

David Zamora, director of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Public Works said that after the extraction of the machine, they would work on stabilizing the walls to proceed with investigating the cause of the sinkhole.

“Normally they are generated by rainwater runoff or some leak, but we have to check exactly what happened in the tunnel.”

The tunnel was being excavated to add a new Line 3 to the city’s light rail system.