Beach sinkhole swallows up cars, tents and caravans in Queensland, Australia

Witnesses describe ‘mayhem’ as holiday-makers scrambled to get away

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The Independent Online

Campers have described scenes of “mayhem” as a sinkhole the size of a football field opened up on a beach in Australia.

Footage showed tents and caravans floating in the water after the ground gave way at around 11pm on Saturday night near Queensland’s Rainbow Beach.

Police and other emergency services were quickly called to the scene, and around 140 people were evacuated from the MV Beagle Campground on Inskip Point.

Many were warned by a camper who saw the sinkhole and ran through the campsite, banging on caravans and telling people to get out.

“Can’t believe we made it out,” wrote camper Melanie Wotherspoon in a Facebook post, as reported by Channel 7 News.

“I thought we were goners for sure, was truly scary how fast it came into our camp site and swallowed it up,” she said.

One witness, Casey Hughes, told ABC the sinkhole “sounded like thunder” as it opened up, while Sylvia Murray said it was “amazing to see”.

“People were basically on the edge of it with their van, trying to madly get their vans out,” she said.

The three-foot deep hole eventually opened out to a width of around 450 feet, and local officials warned it could yet get bigger.

Ranger Dan Clifton told ABC his team had cordoned the area off and set up warning signs to alert beachgoers. He said: “There is a real possibility the hole could expand with ocean currents, so people are urged to avoid the area.”

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