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Sinkhole swallows Australian woman hanging out her washing

The 45-year-old was rescued after more than half an hour

By Antonia Molloy

A woman in Australia was swallowed by a watery sinkhole that opened up beneath her feet – as she was hanging out her washing.

The 45-year-old was in her garden in Melbourne when the 3ft deep, 2ft wide chasm opened up, according to news.com.au.

She had to swim and float in the deep water as she shouted for help for half an hour. One paramedic said that at one point during her ordeal the woman’s head was submerged.

Eventually hearing her cries, neighbours contacted the emergency services, who hauled her out with a rope.

It is believed the woman fell into a disused well.

Operations Officer Paul Carrigg said: “This was a very unusual incident.

“Fortunately the lady has escaped without injury though she was obviously shaken up.”

He added: “We have doorknocked all residents in the street and advised them to stay indoors until council engineers investigate further.”

A sinkhole is essentially any hole in the ground created by erosion and the drainage of water. They can be just a few feet across or large enough to swallow whole buildings.

In Florida last year a sinkhole proved deadly after it opened up within a detached bungalow and swallowed the sleeping body of 37-year-old Jeffrey Bush. Bush's body was never recovered from the 30ft wide, 20ft deep hole.

Further reading:

It's the pits... massive sinkhole appears from nowhere on housing estate 

Giant hole at 'the end of the world' in Yamal, Siberia could be the result of global warming  

Belfast's soft centre a cause for concern as giant hole revealed on Ravenhill Road 

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