New York man, 80, swallowed by sinkhole outside his front door

SinkholeAn elderly man says he's lucky to be alive after he walked outside his front door to pick up the morning papers -- and immediately plunged into a sinkhole.

"Before you know it I was down in the hole," Michael Ciron, 80, told Newsday. "Everything was black .... I was under the ground."

The sinkhole was 8-feet deep and the hole itself was somewhat snug, as you can see in the image above. That turned out to be a good thing for Ciron, who kept his wits about him and began to claw some of the dirt from the top of the hole to shore up the bottom -- and hoist himself up. "I finally got my head out," he told CBS Local.com.

Once he got his head above ground, he began to holler for help.

It was enough to wake up his daughter, Maria, who called 911. “I [ran] to his room first thinking that maybe he fell down or something,” Maria Ciron told CBS.

The Oceanside Fire Department responded and quickly hoisted Ciron out. (While they waited, Maria helpfully took some photos of her dad stuck in the hole, above, and allowed the media to use them.)

"Well done," Ciron said of rescue workers who saved him. "I didn't know how to thank them."

It's unclear what caused the sinkhole, though father and daughter suspect it might be the site of a former well, or simply an underground cavern caused by the recent rain and snow.

While Ciron is a little sore from his adventure he did not suffer any permanent injuries. He also did not lose his sense of humor while underground. "I held on to the papers," he cracked.

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-- Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

Photo: Ciron waits for help. Photo credit: Maria Ciron. Used with permission from CBS Local.com

 
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Rene Lynch has been an editor and writer in Metro, Sports, Business, Calendar and Food. @ReneLynch

As an editor and reporter, Michael Muskal has covered local, national, economic and foreign issues at three newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times. @latimesmuskal


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