Mother, Daughter Missing After Car Falls Into Sinkhole

Their car tumbled into the hole on Saturday
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 28, 2022 4:50 PM CDT
Mother, Daughter Missing After Plunging Into Sinkhole
Rescuers from the Guatemalan Army descend into a sinkhole in Villa Nueva, Guatemala, Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022. Search efforts continue for a mother and daughter who disappeared when their vehicle was swallowed by the massive sinkhole.   (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)

The search for a mother and daughter whose car plunged into a huge sinkhole in Guatemala City changed to a recovery effort Tuesday, three days after they disappeared. Late Tuesday, authorities said they believed they had located their car using geological technology at a depth of about 50 feet. Mynor Suárez, an engineer specializing in geology, said they had detected a variation in metals below the surface that they believe to be the car, the AP reports. It remained unknown, however, whether the women were still inside the car.

Rescuers have descended on ladders and with the aid of a crane, using metal detectors and a search dog in hopes of finding them. Ángel Mario González, chief of the volunteer firefighters in charge of the operation, said earlier Tuesday that they were working manually with shovels at the bottom of the hole trying to avoid further collapse. But he said they were now just looking to find their bodies. "At 6pm, 72 hours will have passed since the incident," he said. "The possibility of finding survivors is nil." Felipe Mejía stood with other relatives about 150 feet from the edge of the sinkhole, hoping for word on the two missing women—his daughter-in-law Olga Emilia Choz, 38, and granddaughter Mishell Mejía Choz, 15.

He said his son Adolfo Mejia, who was riding with his wife and daughter on their way home from a local market where they sell clothing, was released from the hospital Monday after having two fingers amputated that had been injured while trying to rescue his daughter. Mejia said his son couldn’t bring himself to return to the scene. The hole opened Saturday evening on the main thoroughfare of Villa Nueva, southwest of the capital. Video of the scene showed traffic moving along a dark, rain-soaked street when suddenly a vehicle tumbled into the gaping hole. In all, two vehicles fell into the sinkhole. Four people were rescued immediately, but there has been no sign of Choz and her daughter.

(More sinkhole stories.)

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