A sinkhole spontaneously opened up in Karmei Yosef, Israel, dragging one man below the surface and killing him. The bottom of a private swimming pool collapsed into the sinkhole during an employee pool party in the Israeli residential area, killing one and injuring another.
Klil Kimhi, 32, was identified as the man who had been sucked down into the sinkhole. It is unclear if his exact cause of death was by drowning, being crushed or falling down the 43-foot-deep tunnel, according to Newsweek.
A video circulating on social media showed the sinkhole draining the water from the swimming pool. Another pool partygoer, a 34-year-old male, was nearly sucked under as well. The video shows him slipping towards the sinkhole as the water drains, with others nearby reaching to stabilize and pull him away.
Israel’s emergency response team, Magen David Adom, arrived shortly after and treated that man’s slight injuries. Magen David Adom paramedic Uri Damari told The Jerusalem Post, “People who were at the site told me that the pit opened suddenly and within a few seconds all the water of the pool was pulled in.”
Damari added, “A 34-year-old man who pulled himself out of the pit was sitting outside the pool, agitated. He suffered minor injuries to his head and limbs and after medical treatment we evacuated him to the hospital. The people who were at the scene know each other and reported to us that there is one person who is missing and special forces of the fire brigade are currently working to locate and rescue him from the pit.”
Times of Israel reported that Kimhi’s body was found by Israeli rescue teams hours after the sinkhole had opened. Rescue teams first built a support structure around the pool, due to concerns about the sinkhole expanding or collapsing a second time. Police had dispatched a helicopter to ensure there were no additional sinkholes nearby. It took the search team in Karmei Yosef four hours to retrieve Kimhi’s body because of the sinkhole’s unsafe structure.
One witness told the media that Kimhi was pulled into the sinkhole in a matter of seconds because of the force of the water and that the total number of casualties could have been higher had there not only been six people in the pool at the time. She said she had immediately shouted to her colleagues to get out of the pool, but they had initially thought it was a game.
“Seconds later, the ground just dropped. … I watched two people just disappear,” she said.
Police announced they would be opening an investigation into whether the pool had been constructed and operated with proper licensing, as the homeowner had allegedly not applied for a permit before building the pool. Police had “interrogated the owner of the home on suspicions of negligent manslaughter” on Thursday, but have given no other public comment, according to Newsweek.