An off-duty police officer has died and two other people were injured after two vehicles plunged into massive, water-filled sinkhole in San Antonio, Texas.
Bexar County Sheriff’s Office identified the victim as 69-year-old Deputy Dora Linda Nishihara, who was a courthouse bailiff.
The tragedy occurred after a sewer line ruptured during heavy rain earlier on Sunday, causing the sinkhole to suddenly appear.
A crane was used to retrieve Nishihara’s car, which had sunk about 12ft into the water.
James Keith, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office, confirmed Nishihara was not working when her vehicle went into the sinkhole.
We are heartbroken to confirm Deputy Dora Linda (Solis) Nishihara passed away after her car fell into a sinkhole Sunday. pic.twitter.com/fETVaqrrCJ
— Bexar County Sheriff (@BexarCoSheriff) December 5, 2016
Authorities say two heroic passers-by rescued a driver after another vehicle went into the sinkhole.
That driver and one of his rescuers were treated for minor injuries.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with her friends and family,” Bexar County Sheriff’s Office tweeted. “We are assisting her family as they deal with this tragedy.”
The town’s mayor, Ivy R Taylor, added: “My heart and prayers go out to the family involved in this tragedy. The fire department [has] been working to secure the scene of the sinkhole and will remain there until all repairs have been made.”
According to News 4 San Antonio, fast-moving water and the growing sinkhole made rescue efforts difficult.
Chief Charles Hood of the San Antonio Fire Department said: “This was a challenging recovering for us. We suffered a few collapses that widened the sinkhole, and our technical rescue team firefighters were exposed to raw sewage at a fast, flowing rate, as well as very cold water.”
“This is tragic and surprising. Someone is driving 40-50 mph and doing the things we do while driving like listening to music and you have the road fall out form underneath you. That’s a very sad situation.”