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Chatsworth sinkhole swallows 2 vehicles; 4 people escape

Crews working to free cars trapped in Chatsworth Sinkhole
Crews working to free cars trapped in Chatsworth Sinkhole 03:57

Two people were rescued by firefighters and two others got themselves out after driving their vehicles into a sinkhole in Chatsworth Monday night.

The sinkhole opened up on Iverson Road south of Zaltana Street, where Iverson runs just beneath the 118 Freeway, at about 7:20 p.m. Monday.

First, a car drove into the opening, then a pickup truck. Two people in the truck got themselves out before firefighters arrived. They were not injured.

Two people in the car were reportedly trapped when the truck landed on top. Los Angeles Fire Dept. crews used a ladder over the hole and dropped a firefighter down as they stabilized the vehicles as much as possible, then extricated the two people. Those two people, a woman and a young girl, sustained minor injuries.

Authorities estimated the sinkhole to be around 15 feet deep Monday night, but the sinkhole appeared to grow in size overnight. As of Tuesday night, the sinkhole grew to 40 feet, splitting the roadway entirely.

"It's so much deeper than I actually thought," said Councilman John Lee, who represents Chatsworth. "It's a true miracle that there are not more injured."

The vehicles were visibly sticking out of the sinkhole when the KCAL News crew arrived. As of Tuesday morning, the vehicles were buried feet deeper into the mud.

"More water has been flowing down from the street and was filling the hole, and as you can see, there's a part of the street itself that's a large chunk of debris that's already separated and cracked, and the way this has gone is this car is continuing to sink and roll," said LAFD Battalion Chief Andrew Wordin. "We got to the point where we had to get these folks out of this car, so we went with a high-angle rescue and lowered a rescuer into the side door," said Wordin.

"The road is completely compromised and un-passable to traffic, nor is it able to support emergency vehicles," firefighters said Monday night. "The large sinkhole is fully cutting across the southbound lane of Iverson Road. The entire road is compromised."

Late Tuesday night, crews were able to retrieve the cars from the sinkhole.

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