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Teen safe after sinkhole swallows him

by Gabe Gutierrez / KHOU 11 News

Posted on November 22, 2011 at 4:52 PM

Updated today at 7:06 AM

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas – A teenager was safe after a sinkhole suddenly swallowed him Monday afternoon as he was standing on a street corner.

Giovanni Long, 16, said he was on his way to the gym and was waiting at the corner of Louetta and Lyons School Roads around 4 p.m. when it happened.

"The ground was completely dry and I was there, waiting for my friend to cross the street. And then everything beneath me just crumbled," he said. "I didn’t know what to do."

The Klein High School junior said he fell several feet and was under water for roughly 15 seconds as he tried to lift himself to safety.

"I was trying to dig my way out of the hole, but the ground kept breaking back into me," Long said. "It’s funny now that I think about it, now that I’m safe and everything. But when it happened, it was actually scary."

Long managed to walk away with just a few scratches on his back and a twisted ankle. The teen’s mother is just glad school was out this week.

"I was terrified," Rolanda Long said. "I think the main concern that I had was that kids walk through this walkway every morning. Thank God it was holiday time. Unfortunately, he was the one who fell in it, but (that’s) better than five or six kids falling in that huge hole."

A contractor at the scene Tuesday said a 12-inch water line had broken. It’s not clear why, but the recent moisture in the area after months of drought may have caused the ground to shift.

Long and his mother said the hole was at least 6 feet deep and 10 feet wide on Monday. It has since been partially filled in.

That contractor roped off the hole and said he plans to clean it up soon – possibly by Wednesday.

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