A dozen or so sinkholes have formed along a New Jersey beach, terrifying one resident who fell in and alarming officials who visited the swath of coastline Thursday.
The Monmouth Beach resident who fell into a waist-deep hole while walking along the beach Tuesday said he feared for his life when he was swallowed up.
"All of the sand just came right down and sucked me in," he said. "I couldn't move, I was like in concrete."
The resident, who did not want his name used, had fallen into one of the sinkholes of varying sizes that developed along a sea wall after last weekend's rain.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers visited the site Thursday morning, and engineer Paul Jalowski explained that deep cavities among the rocks in the sea wall had not been filled in this past winter when a new beach was created ashore.
As the heavy rain came down, it eroded some of the sand into the rocks at the base of the sea wall, as well as around two new concrete drainage outfalls nearby, creating the sinkholes.
Mark Sendowski, a friend of the man who fell in, said he feared that a child could have been killed by the sinkhole that trapped his buddy up to his waist.
"He was screaming, 'I can't get out, I can't get out,'" Sendowski said. He said he reached down from the rocks to try to pull up his friend, but could not get him free.
After about 15 minutes, the man dug himself out.
As of Thursday, fencing was going up around the sinkholes, and the Army Corps said it hoped to have a contractor out within a week or so to fill them in.
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