February, 2016
State College, Pennsylvania

Megan Holmes was walking her golden retriever off the leash, during a snowstorm, around the Pennsylvania State University Arboretum on February 15, 2016. The well-behaved dog never ran off but she seemingly vanished that night. The next day, retracing her steps, Ron Holmes found a sinkhole on the route and called into it. He heard nothing but rushing water. On Wednesday, the Holmes’ returned to search for the dog and received a barking reply when they called into the sinkhole.

Alpha Fire Company and Penn State police worked together to extract Skye from the 14-foot-deep sinkhole that dropped into a “Volkswagen-buggy” sized space. The police set up large mats around the small opening of the sinkhole to stabilize the area, and firefighters created a makeshift harness to pull her up.

The Alpha Fire Company Assistant Chief of Training and Operations Dennis Harris climbed down into the sinkhole with a ladder and hooked up Skye to the harness to be lifted. The dog was pronounced in good health and did not suffer ill effects from the wet and cold conditions.

The sinkhole was filled in. This area of Pennsylvania is notorious for sinkholes.

Lessons: Be aware in karst prone areas. Keep an eye on your dogs or keep them leashed in potentially hazardous conditions.

Sources: Fox News February 17, 2016 and Centre Daily Times February 24, 2016 

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