Video: Texas FFs, bystanders pull driver through window seconds before sinkhole swallows car

About 10 people gathered around the vehicle's bumper and worked together, according to the El Paso Fire Department

Aspen Pflughoeft
The Charlotte Observer

EL PASO, Texas — A woman was rescued seconds before a flooded sinkhole swallowed her car, video from a Texas fire department shows.

A group of about 10 people – firefighters and bystanders – gathered around the bumper of a white car, already partially submerged in the water-filled sinkhole, video taken on Aug. 9 by Enrique Duenas-Aguilar, the public information officer with the El Paso Fire Department, showed.

“People were like, ‘Ma’am get out of the car,’ but she was an older lady,” a witness said, CBS 4 reported. “These guys were trying to open the door by trying to get her out of there, but they didn’t have anything to break the windows,” but then the fire department arrived, the witness said.

The video shows someone calling, “on three!” and the group moves closer to the car, ankle and knee-deep in water.

Multiple people hold the car back from falling further into the sinkhole while others pull a woman out the back window, the video shows.

Once the woman is safely out, the video shows the group let go of the car which – seconds later – is swallowed by the sinkhole.

“Thirty seconds more and she would’ve been dead,” the witness said, according to CBS News.

By the end of the video, only the bumper of the car can be seen above the sinkhole’s quick-flowing waters.

The woman was taken to a hospital with minor injuries, the El Paso Fire Department said in a news release.

Three firefighters were checked for minor injuries from breaking the back window, CBS News reported.

The sinkhole emerged after heavy rain, KFOX14 reported.

The size of the sinkhole is not known, but it’s larger than a car, a fire department spokesperson told KFOX14.

The Texas Department of Transportation and El Paso water also came to the scene, the news release said.

Photos from the fire department also showed a fallen traffic light and mud along the intersection’s crosswalk.

Traffic was diverted from the area which remains closed until further notice, the fire department said.


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McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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