Golfer swallowed by sinkhole in Illinois lives to tell the tale

Another terrifying tale of a sinkhole swallowing a man is making headlines, but this one has a happier ending than the Florida sinkhole that killed Jeff Bush.

Mark Mihal, 43, spoke to media after he went to check out a bathtub-sized indent on the fairway at Annbriar Golf Club in Illinois and plunged down into a 5.5-metre (18-foot) sinkhole.

“It didn’t look unstable,” Mihal told reporters at a press conference Tuesday. “And then I was gone. I was just freefalling. It felt like forever, but it was just a second or two, and I didn’t know what I was going to hit. And all I saw was darkness.”

Mihal’s three friends pulled him out the hole after about 20 minutes, using a piece of rope. He dislocated his shoulder, but was otherwise fine.

Mihal also told reporters that it was the first day of the golf season and he was having a great game before he fell into the hole.

The Associated Press says that sinkholes aren’t uncommon in the southwest part Illinois, where old mines cause the ground to settle.

Mihal runs the golf website golfmanna, where his wife, Lori Mihal, wrote an account of the events, saying:

“As we’ve had a couple of days to put everything in perspective, the whole ordeal still seems so unreal. It reminds me of the movie Space Jam when Michael Jordan was playing golf and disappeared into the ground. We’re very fortunate that Mark wasn’t injured worse than he was – or even killed. It’s just another reminder to hold your loved ones close and thank God for all the blessings we’ve been given.”

The golf course will remain open. Officials say this appears to be an isolated incident.

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