Imagine standing in the middle of the fairway while pondering your next shot when suddenly the ground underneath you gives out and drops you 18 feet below. A tad surreal, huh? Well, that actually happened to Mark Mihal last Friday on the 14th hole at Annbriar Golf Course in Waterloo, Illinois, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
“I was standing in the middle of the fairway,” Mihal said Monday. “Then, all of a sudden, before I knew it, I was underground.”
Mihal said he fell into the mud floor of an enclosure shaped like a bell, up to 18 feet deep and 10 feet wide. The rescue was precarious, he said, because no one knew whether the surface hole would grow or the enclosure would collapse.
A companion called the course’s pro shop, where general manager Russ Nobbe gathered some rope and a ladder and rushed to the rescue. Mihal had dislocated his shoulder, so Ed Magaletta, a friend and a real estate agent, climbed down and put a rope around Mihal’s waist so he could be hoisted to safety.
The rescue took less than 20 minutes, but Mihal said his mind quickly went to an incident two weeks ago in Seffner, Fla., where a sleeping man dropped into a huge sinkhole that opened beneath his bedroom. Authorities never recovered the body of that victim, Jeffrey Bush, 36.
“That certainly went through my mind when I was down there,” Mihal said. “It looked like it was more room to go down (in the hole). I wasn’t too happy to be in there.”
Um, that sounds like a nightmare. I would have definitely freaked out thinking about the worst-case scenarios. Oh, you know, like the ground in the sinkhole giving out and disappearing into the soil.
Here’s another shot of the rescue mission via Mihal’s website Golfmanna.com.
Well, you know what they say — an up-and-down is always great during a round, but not nearly as important as a down-and-up. Or something like that.