Vinyl Liner Rips As Sinkhole Opens Underneath Swimming Pool, Killing 1

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Photo via The Washington Post (Israeli Fire and Rescue Services/AP)

During a company party at an Israel home on July 21, a sinkhole opened underneath a swimming pool, causing a large tear in the vinyl liner through which the contents of the pool flowed. One man drowned and another was injured.

Video of the incident shows guests watching in horror as the pool collapses inward, sucking all of the water and several inflatables into the sinkhole in a matter of seconds. One man is seen nearly falling in and managing to climb out, while another man becomes submerged beneath the water and disappears.

When the support for the pool’s vinyl liner bottom was suddenly removed, the enormous weight of the pool’s water, in this case well in excess of 100 tons, immediately tore through the vinyl fabric. With a gaping chasm in the floor, the pool water drained quickly into the hole below.

According to the Times of Israel, first responders were able to find the man at the bottom of the sinkhole after a four hour search: Identified as Klil Kimhi, 32, of Tel Aviv, he was pronounced dead. Authorities have not revealed the cause of death.

Police say that the couple who owns the property did not apply for a permit before building the pool. They were arrested on suspicion of negligent manslaughter, and were released Friday morning on house arrest. At a Friday hearing, Sgt. Rami Desta accused the couple of having “a very large contribution to this tragic outcome.” 

Sinkholes are areas of ground that lack natural external surface drainage, according to the United States Geological Survey. Spaces can develop underground as rock below the land surface dissolves — and a sudden collapse of the land surface can occur at any time.

A senior researcher with the Israel Geological Institute told Agence France-Presse last year that there were thousands of sinkholes in and around Israel.

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