A man is dead after a cesspool collapsed in the Long Island town of Huntington Wednesday, spawning a gigantic sinkhole that swallowed him alive, authorities said.
Crews were still filling in the massive sinkhole — wider than two cars — on Wednesday night after a frantic, hours-long rescue effort involving dozens of firefighters, police officers and workers failed to save the man.
"It's horrible, my heart goes out to the men," Regina Sineno said.
Police say a crew was installing the cesspool at a Beech Place home when it collapsed shortly before 1 p.m., leaving a gaping hole that consumed the entire front yard and ate the top half of the driveway.
The worker, later identified as 59-year-old Edward Sinnott, was sucked in, authorities say. Another worker nearly suffered the same fate but managed to grab ahold of construction equipment as Sinnott was pulled down.
Chopper 4 showed an extensive emergency presence at the scene. A large crane was sifting through mud and other debris. Later, crews brought in a device to suck muck out of the hole.
First responders planted a large American flag at the site as they worked, and anxious family members, co-workers and neighbors watched as mounds of dirt were scooped from the hole.
Hours after the collapse, Sinnott still hadn't been found, and sources said a rescue effort for him had changed to a recovery effort for his body.
Sinnott was pulled from the dirt shortly before 7 p.m. and he was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.
There have been a number of incidents of people and animals falling into cesspools on Long Island in recent years.