Golfer survives fall into Illinois sinkhole

Mark Mihal's friends attempt to hoist the mortgage broker to safety. Picture: AP
Mark Mihal's friends attempt to hoist the mortgage broker to safety. Picture: AP
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A GOLFER from Missouri is counting his blessings after he survived being swallowed up by the earth.

Mark Mihal, a 43-year-old mortgage broker from St. Louis, was playing a round of golf with a few friends, when he fell into an 18-foot deep sinkhole on the 14th hole of the Annbriar Golf Club near Waterloo in Illinois.

Mihal had noticed a large, knee-deep indentation in the ground, and had gone to take a closer look, remarking that it would be difficult to hit a shot out of it. The keen golfer had stepped onto the depression, sinking into the ground.

The mortgage broker’s friends took around 20 minutes to hoist him to safety, with Mihal suffering a dislocated shoulder but otherwise remaining uninjured.

The incident echoes the recent much-publicised death of a Florida man, who was killed when a sinkhole opened up under his house. His body has not yet been recovered.

Mihal spoke of the fright, saying: “I feel lucky just to come out of it with a shoulder injury, falling that far and not knowing what I was going to hit.”