Life Saving Rescue from Growing Sinkhole

Monday, January 9, 2023

With two people trapped in their car fully submerged in a large, growing sinkhole, firefighters executed an immediate, life-saving rescue.

At 7:20PM on January 9, 2023 the Los Angeles City Fire Department responded to a reported traffic collision in the 11400 block of Iverson Road in Chatsworth. 

Firefighters arrived to find a large sinkhole and two vehicles (one on top of the other) inside, approximately 15' below ground level.  They located two people still trapped in the bottom vehicle.  The initial rescue attempt involved bringing ground ladders and laying them down to span the hole so crews could try to reach the victims but this was not successful.  

Meanwhile, the road continued to slough and although firefighters had tried to stabilize the vehicle, it was shifting and starting to roll within the sink hole. With the entire road compromised, firefighters had to make an immediate rescue to save the lives of the two people trapped.

Using the aerial ladder to position the rescuers over the hole, a high-angle rope rescue operation was used to lower a firefighter down so they could secure the victim with a harness and then be raised back up to the surface while the ladder rotated around to safe ground. Crews executed this operation smoothly and safely rescued both patients.

Fortunately, the patients only sustained minor injuries and were transported to the hospital for evaluation.

50 firefighters, under the direction of Battalion Chief Andrew Wordin, worked seamlessly under difficult circumstances in executing a successful rescue.

The road will remain closed for an undetermined period while the appropriate city agencies evaluate it and determine the repairs required.


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