A car was fully immersed in a huge sinkhole in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, on Wednesday after the driver plowed through barriers and plunged in, utility officials say.
The driver of a Cadillac sedan managed to get out on his own and was taken to a hospital with minor injuries, Prince George’s County’s fire and EMS department said.
Aerial footage shot Wednesday from a helicopter showed the car completely underwater before crews managed to hoist it up and out of the sinkhole, which covered nearly two lanes of traffic.
WSSC Water officials say crews began working to repair a broken 30-inch water main on South Osborne Road, off Crain Highway, at about 4 a.m. The water main break created the large sinkhole. Crews set up cones and barriers around the hole, WSSC said.
But the driver pushed past the cones and barriers and plunged into the gaping pit, according to WSSC. It wasn't immediately clear whether the driver had seen the barriers.
The driver escaped the vehicle on his own, WSSC said. He was taken to a hospital at about 6:15 a.m., the fire department said.
A WSSC spokesman asked drivers to steer clear of work areas.
“We don’t want something like this to happen. So we have the cones out there. They’re bright. We want you to stay safe, so respect the work zone,” he said.
Crews working in sweltering heat hoisted the car out of the sinkhole before 5 p.m. using a tow truck and ropes. The vehicle was loaded onto a flatbed truck and hauled away.
Business owner Sammy Davis recently opened his Southern seafood restaurant Catch 22 nearby. He was frustrated to have to shut down and estimated it would cost him $8,000 to $10,000 per day.
"We were just starting to get busy this week. We was just having our best week. This is horrible,” he said.
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“If that person had just stopped at the barrier, they probably wouldn’t have went in and this would be resolved,” Davis added.
Work to repair the water main break was ongoing on Thursday morning. WSSC called it a “long, complicated repair.”
In a tweet posted around noon, county police asked drivers to avoid the area.
Prince George’s County police and fire officials initially said they had no record of first responders being called to the scene.
Update (Aug. 11, 2021 5:15 p.m. ET): Information on the type of vehicle submerged was updated. A witness initially said an SUV was underwater in the sinkhole.