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Man Speaks After His Leg Plunges Into Small Sinkhole In Brooklyn

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - A small sinkhole swallowed a man's foot and leg in Brooklyn Tuesday morning.

As CBS2's Valerie Castro reported, Stephen Suarez, 28, was home recovering Tuesday night, still shocked by what happened.

"It was a funny picture of me -- I'll give you that," he said. "I got to get over it."

But earlier in the day, Suarez was in a world of hurt."

"When I fell, I fell straight down. I fell on my tailbone -- fell straight through," he said. "I was in a lot of pain."

Suarez was walking across Myrtle Avenue at Walworth Street at the crosswalk in Bedford-Stuyvesant around 11:15 a.m. when his right leg went through the small sinkhole all the way up to his hip.

He was returning to work at Kings County Auto Body on Walworth Street and was less than a block away when the freak accident happened.

"I thought I was going to fall straight through the ground completely" he said. "I was like, 'Oh no, what the hell is about to happen to me?'"

Witnesses were shocked.

"He went down... and the traffic stopped, everything stopped," said witness Danny Flores. "I haven't seen nothing like that ever. But it's New York, anything can happen."

The rescue was caught on video, which shows firefighters pulling Suarez's leg out.

"It almost looked like he didn't have a leg," co-worker Joe Grunbaum tells CBS2's Hazel Sanchez. "It was just there, it was gone. He was in pain – clearly in pain."

Firefighters told Suarez to stay calm. He said they fist considered using equipment to open up the hole even bigger before deciding just to pull him out carefully.

He lost his right shoe to the sinkhole, 1010 WINS' Al Jones reported.

Suarez was treated and released from NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull. His father told CBS2 earlier that he was suffering from back, hip, and ankle pain after the accident and underwent X-rays Wednesday evening.

"It's terrifying," Suarez said. "It was terrifying -- definitely terrifying."

The hole was quickly patched up, before someone else could get hurt.

Late Tuesday, Department of Environmental Protection investigators were working to determine what caused the street to give out. They said the water mains and sewers are all operating properly.

Meanwhile, locals are worried that more sinkholes are just waiting to open up.

"I could've went through there with my bike, you know," Williamsburg resident Erik Herrera said. "I would've gotten it worse."

As for Suarez, he said the freak accident did indeed cause a hairline fracture in his leg. He plans to take a few days off to recover.

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