Shocking Footage Shows A Sinkhole Swallowing A Soccer Field In Illinois Whole

A massive sinkhole stretching 100 feet opened up in an Illinois park on Wednesday, swallowing a light pole in the middle of recreational fields and leaving a deep, gaping hole in its wake.

The terrifying moment was caught on a nearby security camera Wednesday morning, showing an area between two soccer and football fields opening up around a light pole, sending it tumbling in and releasing plumes of smoke at Gordon Moore Park in the city of Alton, about 18 miles north of St. Louis, Missouri.

The hole, which opened up at 9:18 a.m., is about 100 feet wide and 30 feet deep, Alton Parks and Recreation Director Michael Haynes told NBC News. Haynes said the sinkhole emerged because of “a mine collapse deep underground,” adding, “New Frontier Materials is responsible.”

Luckily, no one was on the field at the time, and no one was hurt, he said. “It looks like something out of a movie, right? It looks like a bomb went off,” Haynes told NBC affiliate KSDK of St. Louis.

A spokesperson for New Frontier Materials, which owns an underground mine, told KSDK: “The impacted area has been secured and will remain off limits for the foreseeable future while inspectors and experts examine the mine and conduct repairs.” “No one was injured in the incident, which has been reported to officials at the Mine Safety Health Administration (MSHA) in accordance with applicable regulations,” the spokesperson said. “Safety is our top priority. We will work with the city to remediate this issue as quickly and safely as possible to ensure minimal impact on the community.” New Frontier Materials did not immediately reply to NBC News’ request for further comment.

Gordon Moore Park is temporarily closed “while the sinkhole investigation is being completed,” Alton Parks and Recreation said on social media.

Sinkholes occur naturally when groundwater circulates underground and dissolves the rock beneath the surface, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. They’re fairly common in Florida, as the state largely has limestone under the land’s surface. However, they can also occur as a result of mining or leaky utility lines or from the decay of buried material, according to Penn State Extension, which focuses on agronomy and horticulture education.

Last year, a 40-foot-wide sinkhole opened near Knoxville, Iowa, and was later determined to most likely have been caused by a collapsed limestone mine, The Des Moines Register reported.

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