Pool sinkhole in Israel claims Israeli life

The fatal incident happened at a pool party in Israel. Video from the scene shows the sinkhole rapidly swallowing everything, including water and inflatable toys.

WASHINGTON — The body of a man who was sucked into a huge sinkhole that opened up at the bottom of a swimming pool in Israel has been found and a couple have been arrested in connection with his death, Israeli media reports.

The Jerusalem Post reported that it took rescue teams several hours to locate the 30-year-old man, who was pronounced dead after being discovered at the bottom of a 15-meter (nearly 50ft) tunnel.

His exact cause of death has not been determined. The sinkhole reportedly opened up spontaneously during a corporate pool party at a villa in Karmei Yosef, Israel.

The couple who own the villa, a man and a woman in their 60s, were arrested on Thursday night and are suspected of causing the death through negligence, police said. A court decided to release them Friday under “restrictive conditions of house arrest” for five days.

Ynet News reported that the tunnels that opened up under the pool were in danger of collapsing, slowing rescue efforts as crews worked to reinforce them. A rescue dog was also used to try to locate Kimhi.

Chasm Video shows water and inflatable toys quickly being sucked into a hole in the bottom of the pool as people walk around and stand near the edge of the gaping pit and people sitting at the edge of the pool shout in Hebrew. A man is seen approaching the chasm, slips and is almost pulled before falling back.

A 34-year-old man who was also at the party fell into the pit but suffered only minor injuries, local media reported. Newsweek reported that four other people managed to get out of the rapidly emptying pool without being sucked in.

Israeli media quoted witnesses as saying the party was attended by nearly 50 people, six of whom were in the pool, and also reported that the owner built the pool without proper permission.

Sinkholes often form as a result of geographic faults or cracks in the ground that allow water to collect below the surface. When this water evaporates or dissipates into the surrounding earth, it leaves a cavity in the ground that is susceptible to collapse if pressurized.

Professor Shmuel Marco of Tel Aviv’s geophysics department told Ynet News that the sinkhole was likely the result of human intervention, possibly during the construction of the pool.

“It is likely that water seeped under the pool and eroded the soil that was there,” he told the outlet. “There are no known natural sinkholes in this area.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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