Motorcyclist falls into sinkhole

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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)- A man and his motorcycle were swallowed whole when a road on the edge of the Augusta Exchange shopping center gave a way to a sinkhole.

Marjorie Wolfram says she was there.

“I was heading towards Michaels when I saw this huge sinkhole,” Wolfram said. “And it wasn’t marked off, so I was concerned because I had seen several people try to make that right hand turn.”

It’s a road that goes behind shops at the Augusta Exchange, across the street from the Best Buy shopping center.

Wolfram says she saw at least four cars attempt to go down that road, and she was trying to contact someone about the hole when a motorcyclist approached it.

“By the time he saw the hole, he tried to react, but there was not time,” she said.

Wolfram says she feels horrible about what happened.

“Just sick for him…Hoping he was going to be okay, didn’t have a devastating injury,” she said.

“He seemed to be unconscious for a short period of time. And came to and was disoriented, and I was just trying to keep him staying put so more debris didn’t fall on top of him.”

She says he was bleeding from his forehead, even though he was wearing a helmet.

So how did this happen? According to National Geographic, sinkholes are caused by erosion and can appear suddenly.

We spoke to the owner of the business that’s just feet away from the hole.

“We had no idea it was there until a parent walked in and said, ‘There’s a sinkhole right next to you. There’s a motorcycle in the hole…[we] need to call 911,” said Jeff Rucker, who is the owner of Mathnasium of Augusta.

He says they don’t open till 2 p.m., which is right around when the accident occurred.

“I have known since we’ve been here that there’s a drainage here, and the city was out here, I believe last week doing some work behind the storm sewer there,” he said, pointing to what appears to be a storm or sewage drain adjacent to the sinkhole. “But of course [I] had no idea that anything like that would happen.”

Wolfram says another woman named Michelle was also there right before the accident trying to figure out how to get the area marked off.  We got in touch with her Wednesday evening via text. She says she was there ten or 15 minutes before the accident, and she called Richmond County EMA, dispatch, and 311 to try to get someone to rope off the sinkhole. She says they all told her that it was private property, and they couldn’t do anything about it.

She says she didn’t learn who the owner of the property was until after the man had fallen in.

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