13-Year-Old Escapes Sinkhole in Her Front Yard - NBC Southern California

13-Year-Old Escapes Sinkhole in Her Front Yard

"I was really scared because I could have died," she said.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Girl Nearly Swallowed by Sinkhole

    A 13-year-old girl was nearly swallowed in a sinkhole when the ground gave way in her backyard. The hole is about 25 feet deep. Tony Shin reports for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 21, 2016. (Published Monday, Nov. 21, 2016)

    A Southern California teen nearly swallowed up by a 20-foot-deep sinkhole in her front yard fought to crawl from the opening that caved in right under her Monday.

    "All of a sudden I just fell down," 13-year-old Lake Elsinore resident Macayla Wittman said.

    Surveillance video captured part of the struggle, with Macayla's legs visibly flailing as she fought to escape the well-like hole in her front yard on Pennsylvania street.

    She was walking on her front yard when the ground gave way underneath her. But Macayla stopped her fall by grabbing onto the edge of the 3-foot-wide sinkhole.

    Seconds later she climbed out shaken, but not hurt.

    "It was terrifying. I was really scared because I could have died," she said.

    Her father used this 20-foot-long pole to measure how deep the hole stretches below the Earth's surface.

    At first the family had no idea why it opened up.

    "I called the water department and an individual came out and said our property our problem," Lachele Wittman said.

    Wittman said she later found out that the hole may have been created by a septic system that the original builder installed in the 1980s.

    "Most of the neighbors, a lot of them on this street anyway, know about this issue and they keep filling these holes up with dirt," Wittman said.

    She said the family bought the home eight years ago and did not know about the septic system.

    She's hoping everyone in her neighborhood listens to her warning, especially parents who have young kids, like her other daughter who's 7 years old.

    "This is a safety concern for every single person that comes in this tract of homes on this street," Whitman said.

    The hole has been covered up with plywood for safety reasons, but the hole isn't the only issue as it appears the yard is also starting to sink.

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