Missouri golfer falls into 15-foot sinkhole at Illinois golf course

WATERLOO, Ill. - A sinkhole opens up in the middle of a golf course, taking a golfer from Missouri with it.

The man fell 15 feet, landing in mud and dislocating his shoulder.

It sure wasn't the hole in one mark Mihal. of Creve Voeur. was expecting.

"I was just in shock," the husband and father of two said. He was playing golf Friday with friends at Ann-Briar Golf Course in Waterloo, Ill., when on the 14th hole, in the middle of the fairway, he noticed something unusual.

"The fairway had a lot of mounds in it and I saw this depression and I was like ‘That's interesting,' you know. So i went there to check it out."

The next thing he knew, Mihal fell about 15 feet down into a sinkhole landing on a big pile of mud.

"It was just darkness down there so I was like ‘Someone get me out of here now!'"

He says he immediately went into survival mode.

"Thank God I was playing with a foursome. I was probably 15 feet away from my buddy Mike," Mihal said. "We were talking about it and then all of a sudden I was gone. He heard moaning, he said. and he looked back and I just disappeared."

His friends called the club house asking for a ladder and a rope. They all knew time was of the essence. 

So one of his friends, Ed Magaletta. jumped in himself. 

"I knew he couldn't get out by himself and the longer he stayed down there. the worse it was so I felt someone had to do it," Magaletta said.

Magaletta put a splint around his friend's arm and tried to do whatever he could to help him.

"They put a rope around me," Mihal said. "Pulled me out from top and he pushed me from the bottom."

Twenty minutes later, Mihal was back on solid land.

"My arm was killing me," Mihal said. "But I was happy to be on the ground and see the sunlight and thankful it wasn't worse."

Russ Nobbe, the general manager at Ann-Briar, called it an act of nature.

"We are sorry this happened here," Nobbe said. "It is an extremely unfortunate event. We don't feel there's any way we could've foreseen this happening."

So will Mihal ever golf again?

"I hope so. I love it," he said. "I probably will. I don't know if I can play that course or that hole again. It's just so freaky. We're just amazed. We can't believe that just happened."


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