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Giant sinkhole swallows 2 cars in California during deadly storms

Giant sinkhole swallows 2 cars in California during deadly storms

Two cars fell into a 15-foot sinkhole as California was pummeled by torrential rain this week. A rescue team from the Los Angeles Fire Department had to help the passengers out of their car when the road collapsed in Chatsworth, San Fernando Valley, trapping the cars underneath. The sinkhole, which is still expanding, is estimated to be 40 feet (12 meters) deep and could get significantly worse, local authorities say. Here’s what experts think could happen next.

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A mother and her teenage daughter had to be rescued on Monday when their Nissan fell into the sinkhole on Iverson Road just south of the 118 Freeway along with another pickup that fell on top of their car. The people in the pickup were able to exit their vehicle safely, but the mother and daughter were trapped.

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The Los Angeles Fire Department, Los Angeles County Fire Department, and Ventura Fire responded to the emergency and carefully removed the mother and daughter from the sinkhole. The dangerous rescue operation lasted about an hour. “It was a dynamic rescue”, says LAFD Cpt. Eric Scott.

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Kpt. Scott explains that the rescue was delicate because the cars were still moving. “The cars were shifting, moving,” he says. “Firefighters did a great job with the calculated rescue. We lowered ladders and ended up doing what we call a high angle rescue where we had our big ladder truck, lowered a firefighter on a rope, strapped on a harness and put those people in brought safety.”

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More rain is expected in the coming days and local authorities are concerned. “It’s deeper, it’s going to continue to erode away,” said John Lee, councilman for District 12. “So, what we need to do, we expect more rain, we need to figure out a way to divert the water. It’s still very unstable, so we have to make a bit of a ramp at the front to be able to get the cars out.”

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Crews from the Los Angeles Department of Public Works are working hard to stabilize the sinkhole. People are warned to take extra care when driving in harsh weather conditions. “It serves as a reminder, you never want to drive down a roadway where you can’t see your sidewalk,” Cpt. says Scott. “This is exactly why we are issuing those warnings.”