Driver returned to vehicle to retrieve cellphone, cigarettes

Driver has ‘miracle’ escape after sinkhole opens in Hod Hasharon, pulling his car in

Police say no injuries in incident caused by ‘malfunction in the underground water infrastructure’; Chaim Boaron, 70, says it happened very fast: ‘My life was miraculously saved’

A car inside a sinkhole in the central town of Hod Hasharon, January 14, 2022. (Israel Police)
A car inside a sinkhole in the central town of Hod Hasharon, January 14, 2022. (Israel Police)

A driver said Saturday that it was a “miracle” he escaped when his car was pulled into a sinkhole in the central city of Hod Hasharon on Saturday morning.

Police said in a statement that there were no injuries and the sinkhole was the “result of a malfunction in the underground water infrastructure.”

The car’s driver, 70-year-old Chaim Boaron, told the Ynet news site that the whole incident happened very fast.

“I was driving the car when I saw a small hole around half a meter [approximately 20 inches] but I got scared because there was flooding. Within a second, the car sank,” he said.

“Everything happened in an instant. The front wheels fell into the sinkhole and I ran out of the car. If I hadn’t, I would be inside [the sinkhole] now,” he said.

Boaran said he went back to the vehicle to retrieve his cellphone and cigarettes before the car was fully submerged.

Chaim Boaran, whose car fell into a sinkhole in Hod Hasharon on January 14, 2023. (Screengrab; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

“I turned off the car [engine], and it was already swallowed up in the sinkhole,” he said

“I can’t believe what a huge miracle happened to me, a real miracle,” he said. “My life was miraculously saved, in an instant. I am really lucky.”

Engineering officials were called to the scene and said there were no other sinkholes in the area.

Drivers were told to avoid HaGanim Street and the surrounding roads in the city.

A car inside a sinkhole in the central town of Hod Hasharon, January 14, 2022. (Israel Police)

In recent months, sinkholes gained headlines after appearing in several locations in central Israel, including a major highway, fueling fears that such incidents could become more widespread.

In November 2022, a sinkhole appeared in a parking spot between two buildings in Hod Hasharon. Emergency services that arrived at the scene ordered an evacuation of nearby buildings until municipal engineers examined the hole to assess its cause.

Also that month, two other sinkholes were discovered on roadways in Tel Aviv.

In September 2022, a large sinkhole opened up on the major Ayalon Highway in Tel Aviv, shutting down the highway completely for hours and leaving a main exit shuttered for two weeks.

Last summer, a man was killed after the swimming pool he was in collapsed and he was dragged into a sinkhole that formed underneath.

The sinkhole that opened up in a pool at a home in Karmei Yosef, July 21, 2022. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

In 2021, a sinkhole opened up in the parking lot of the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, swallowing several cars.

They are also common occurrences around the Dead Sea, caused after receding saltwater leaves behind underground salt deposits, which are later dissolved by rainwater or flash floods, causing the land above to collapse.

Last month, the Academy of the Hebrew Language announced “sinkhole” was its word of the year 2022.

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