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FONTANA, Calif. (KABC) — A 40-year-old woman was rescued by firefighters and search-and-rescue team members after becoming trapped in a 25-foot-deep sinkhole in Fontana.
The incident was reported just outside a mobile home in the 8200 block of Cherry Avenue, 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. The woman’s children heard their mother screaming and then told neighbors about what happened.
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.”
A woman was rescued by firefighters and search-and-rescue team members after becoming trapped in a 25-foot-deep sinkhole in Fontana.
The fire agency clarified that the hole was a result of an old septic tank that was no longer in use. The woman lived at the residence, and when she walked over the top of the septic tank, the ground gave way along with the concrete top of the tank, according to San Bernardino County Fire Dept. Public Information Officer Eric Sherwin.
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. It appeared she suffered only minor injuries.
“She was in fear, she was crying, everyone saying ‘she’s OK, she’s OK,’ but she didn’t look OK,” neighbor Lizeth Gonzalez told Eyewitness News.
It’s unknown how long the woman was at the bottom of the sinkhole, but two hours passed from the time the incident was reported to when she was pulled out.