Tags: sinkhole | disney | world | clermont

Sinkhole Disney World: Hole Opens Up, Swallows Nearby Resort Villa

Image: Sinkhole Disney World: Hole Opens Up, Swallows Nearby Resort Villa

By Alexandra Ward   |   Monday, 12 Aug 2013 09:33 AM

Near Disney World, a massive, 50-foot-wide sinkhole in Clermont, Fla.,  swallowed one of the Summer Bay Resort villas early Monday, but fortunately the building had already been evacuated and no one was injured.

Police responded late Sunday to reports of popping sounds and breaking windows at the resort about 10 miles from Walt Disney World.

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"I was just hearing all these noises banging and people screaming," resort guest Alec Gobeo told News4Jax.com. "It's about to just fall. The whole corner of the building was falling." 

Officials evacuated the 36 guests staying in the sinking vacation condominiums and an adjacent unit, according to Bay News 9.

"Those two buildings have concaved into one another the archway is gone," guest Maggie Ghamry told the local news station. "Our floor is 50 feet underground. The whole side of the building we stayed in is gone, in chunks and pieces."

The sinkhole appeared to be 15 feet deep and getting deeper by the minute, Lake County Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Tony Cuellar told reporters. It was not clear, however, if the sinkhole was widening.

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Sinkholes in Florida are caused by the state's porous geological bedrock, according to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. As acidic rainwater filters into the ground, it dissolves the rock causing erosion that can lead to underground caverns, which cause sinkholes when they collapse.

"There's hardly a place in Florida that's immune to sinkholes," Sandy Nettles, who owns a geology consulting company in the Tampa area, told the Daily Mail. "There's no way of ever predicting where a sinkhole is going to occur."

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