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Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Israel sinkhole forms in swimming pool, killing man and injuring another

One man is dead and another is injured after a large sinkhole formed suddenly beneath an in-ground pool at a venue located in the village of Karmei Yosef, in Israel, authorities confirmed on Thursday.

The deceased male, whom police identified as 32-year-old Klil Kimhi, was reportedly attending a private, celebratory work event held by a company that rented space for its employees.

In his memory, friends are already posting on Kimhi’s Facebook wall after his death.

One thanked him for “all the laughs” and another described him as “the best friend in the world.”

Israel Hayom, a Hebrew-language newspaper, acknowledged Kimhi’s passing on Facebook, writing, “Heart broken to pieces: Kalil Kamchi is the victim of the sink disaster in the private pool in [Karmei] Yosef. May his memory be a blessing.”

A video of the tragic incident — which Fox News Digital has viewed — shows the sinkhole quickly pulling water and pool floats inside as swimmers attempted to escape the sudden trap.

Kimhi’s body was found hours after emergency staff completed the search, according to local reports in Israel. 

Police have not yet revealed the cause of death.

In a statement translated from Hebrew to English and provided to Fox News Digital, Israeli police said, “At the end of operational searches, The Police, The Fire and Rescue Services and the IDF Homefront Command located the missing man, an approximately 30-year-old resident of Tel Aviv — unfortunately he was deceased,” the statement said.

Aviv Bublil, the lifeguard who worked at the pool party, told Israeli news site, Ynet, that at around 2:00 p.m. Israel’s time, a “vortex” appeared in the pool.

She told the outlet that she screamed for the people to exit the pool, but they stayed. 

Bublil added that the swimmers may have thought it was a game (perhaps not realizing they were in danger).

“Seconds later the ground just dropped, something that looked like a giant sinkhole,” Bublil said. “I saw two people … two people were missing. One who we could not locate, and one could be seen among the rubbles from above. My first instinct was to try and get inside … but there was no option to go inside. So they called the rescue services.”

The victim was a male who was attending a celebratory work event held by a company that rented the pool space.
Israel Fire & Rescue/ Facebook

She continued, “It was a matter of seconds. It’s not something that looks ordinary, that’s why I realized it’s some kind of unusual event that I don’t usually see in pools.”

Another adult male who escaped the sinkhole was treated by staff at Magen David Adom (MDA), Israel’s national emergency medical, disaster, ambulance and blood bank service, The Jerusalem Post reported on Thursday.

“A 34-year-old man who pulled himself out of the pit was sitting outside the pool agitated,” MDA paramedic Uri Damari told the outlet. 

“He suffered minor injuries to his head and limbs and after medical treatment we evacuated him to the hospital.” 

Fox News Digital reached out to MDA for comment.

A sinkhole is a hole or “depression” in the ground that “has no natural external surface drainage,” according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). 

“Basically, this means that when it rains, all of the water stays inside the sinkhole and typically drains into the subsurface,” the agency states on the U.S. Department of Interior’s website.

Sinkholes are most common in regions (called karst terrain) where certain types of rock below land can naturally be dissolved by groundwater circulating through the surface, the USGS reports. 

When water from rainfall seeps down into the soil, soluble rocks (salt beds and domes, gypsum, limestone and other carbonate rock) begin to dissolve, which “creates underground spaces and caverns,” according to the USGS.

“Sinkholes are dramatic because the land usually stays intact for a period of time until the underground spaces just get too big.” 

“If there is not enough support for the land above the spaces, then a sudden collapse of the land surface can occur,” the USGS said.

Last year, Ittai Gavrieli of the Israel Geological Institute told Agence France-Presse (AFP) that there are thousands of sinkholes around the shores of the Dead Sea, in Jordan, Israel and the West Bank, The Times of Israel reported.

The USGS states that there’s no available data on sinkhole collapses in America, though some states will track collapses individually through geologic surveys.

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