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Summer Bay Resort: Sinkhole Swallows Building Near Disney World

Travelers Today       By    Katie McFadden

Updated: Aug 12, 2013 09:08 AM EDT

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A sinkhole at the Summer Bay Resort caused several buildings to collapse and sink into the ground.

Guests at the Summer Bay Resort near Disney World had only 10 to 15 minutes to evacuate the buildings as they were swallowed up by a large sinkhole on Sunday. The sinkhole measured about 60 feet in diameter and 15 feet deep, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Fortunately no one was injured but guests left many personal belongings behind like car keys, medication and other items. About 20 people left everything that they had brought. The American Red Cross arrived to helped guests who were displaced. Some of the guests were moved to other buildings on the land.

Resort president Paul Caldwell is grateful that no one was injured.

"My heart sunk. I was sick to my stomach," Caldwell said after hearing the news at about  10:30 p.m. during a phone call from his staff. "No doubt there would've been injuries if they hadn't gotten the building evacuated."

The windows of the buildings had begun to shatter and one guests ran into the street to warn resort staff. Firefighters arrived on the scene immediately and started going to each room of the three-story buildings to help guests escape the damaged building. The building was nearly torn apart in half.

Lake County fire chief Tony Cuellar said that the buildings connects to a center building which has an elevator. Just a few minutes after firefighters escorted guests out of the center buildings, it collapsed into the ground. A nearby building also collapsed and 16 people had to evacuate.

"It could've taken a lot longer but we acted immediately," Cuellar said. "There's no other units affected except for a loss of power along east side of property."

Engineers will assess the damage that the sinkhole caused.  This wasn't the only sinkhole in Florida this year. In March, a 50-foot deep sinkhole swallowed a home. Jeffrey Bush was sleeping when the incident occurred. His body was never found.


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