Last night a villa in an Orlando, Florida hotel resort began to sink into the ground. The Orlando Sentinel dramatically reports, "First came the cracking sounds. Then windows started blowing out. And before they knew it, guests felt the ground beneath their Lake County resort near Disney World sink into the ground. Guests had only 10 to 15 minutes to escape the collapsing buildings at the Summer Bay Resort on U.S. Highway 192 in Clermont, located about 7 miles east of Walt Disney World resort, where a large sinkhole — about 60 feet in diameter and 15 feet deep — opened in the earth late Sunday."
One of the guests was Krystal French, a Lacy Township, NJ resident. She was staying at the Summer Bay resort, which is described as a luxury facility on its website, with her fiance and 10-month old baby and told WABC 7, "There was a lot of popping and cracking. We were locked in our room. We called the front desk to come unlock our room. They never came...my fiance had to break open the window with a chair, and the floors were buckling and there were cracks in the ceiling."
She added, "I was holding my baby for dear life, I thought I was going to be crumbled and crushed. We don't know what's going on. They didn't even have bottled water for us...I have nothing, I don't even have ID, cell phone, cash, credit card, nothing. I just ran."
French and her family had booked their room for the week and only arrived yesterday at 4 p.m. Now they are not sure what they will do.
Another building was evacuated, and the resort president Paul Caldwell said, "No doubt there would've been injuries if they hadn't gotten the building evacuated."
The AP explains, "They are caused by Florida's geology — the state sits on limestone, a porous rock that easily dissolves in water, with a layer of clay on top. The clay is thicker in some locations making them even more prone to sinkholes. Other states sit atop limestone in a similar way, but Florida has additional factors like extreme weather, development, aquifer pumping and construction."
Earlier this year, a sinkhole in the Tampa area killed a man who was in his bedroom. His body was never found.