A major sinkhole has swallowed vehicles at a popular camping spot
The sinkhole, bigger than a football field and several metres deep, developed at Inskip Point near Queensland’s Rainbow Beach around midnight on Saturday 26th September.
A car, caravan, a camper trailer and tents were swallowed almost immediately. Around 140 people were evacuated from the beach side campsite
Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services (QPWS) said 150-metre sinkhole is three metres deep and takes up a large part of the MV Beagle campsite.
Holiday-maker Casey Hughes told ABC the sinkhole “sounded like a thunder noise” as it opened up.
Fellow camper 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.
One woman ran screaming through nearby campsites banging on caravans and yelling for people to get out.
QPWS said 140 people had been evacuated from the site.
Police and SES crews were quickly on site, helping those in the immediate vicinity to leave.
Gympie Mayor Mick Curran said the sinkhole near Fraser Island did not pose a threat to holiday-makers.
“Certainly being the school holidays at the moment there’s quite a number of campers at Inskip,” he said.
“Thankfully at this stage, everyone has been accounted for and there’s been no reported injuries.”
Senior ranger Dan Clifton said there is a possibility the sinkhole could get bigger.
“There is a real possibility the hole could expand with ocean currents, so people are urged to avoid the area,” Mr Clifton said.
“Rangers and police have erected traffic barriers and warnings signs to advise beachgoers of potential risks.
One man said he had been fishing with another man on the beach when they heard a commotion and looked around to see the ground opening up.
He said the second man raced back to his campsite as he saw his car and caravan going under.
SES volunteer Mark Lawler said other vehicles blocked by trees were expected to go under throughout the night.
Many campers took the opportunity to leave immediately, driving into Rainbow Beach and setting up a temporary camp in one of the parks.
Sunshine Coast recovery experts Clayton’s Towing reported the sinkhole on Facebook overnight.
The company said two of their employees, who were camping 200 metres from the beach, were caught up in the mayhem.
They were quickly evacuated after they “heard a noise like a storm” and “realised the sand was rapidly disappearing into the ocean at a amazing speed”.
QPWS said they will continue to monitor the situation and will approach geotechnical engineers to provide an assessment of the site.