A 53-year-old woman was hanging out the washing in Melbourne yesterday morning when the ground opened below her.
The woman, a cleaner, was helping an elderly woman in her Springvale home when she fell into the three-metre sinkhole at 11:30am, the Herald Sun reports.
The terrified woman was submerged in water in the hole for at least 20 minutes and had to swim to stay afloat, according to paramedic Stephanie Palamberis.
Neighours eventually heard her cries for help, and emergency services came to the rescue, with CFA a trench rescue team lifting the woman to safety.
“She fell with the dirt and mud, dropping about three metres and landing in waist-deep water. At one stage her head was under the water,” Ms Palamberis told the Herald Sun.
“The woman told us she couldn’t touch the bottom of the hole, so was trying to swim and stay afloat, to avoid the risk of further mud collapses.”
An investigation reportedly revealed the hole was an old well that had not been covered properly.