The hole in the garden is about six meters deep and one meter wide, from which a man in Bad Sulza who was mowing his lawn could only be rescued dead. The search for the cause is ongoing.

In a possible sudden sinkhole in Bad Sulza (Weimarer Land) in Thuringia, a man who was mowing his lawn fell into a hole and died. The cause of the approximately six meter deep and one meter wide hole remains open.

“Unfortunately, we can’t say anything about the cause of the event at the moment,” said the President of the Thuringian State Office for the Environment, Mining and Nature Conservation (TLUBN), Mario Suckert. Employees were on site shortly after the accident to check how it could have happened. Investigating the cause will continue on Tuesday.

A police spokesman said it was not yet clear whether the man was swept away when the ground suddenly opened up in the guesthouse’s garden or whether, on closer inspection, he fell into the approximately six-meter-deep hole. His wife was looking for the 62-year-old and only found the lawnmower and a hole in the garden. Rescue workers could only get the man dead out of the hole.

Beware of more sinkholes

The earth gave way steadily during the rescue efforts, said the police spokesman. Could there be more sinkholes in the region? “The concern is definitely there.” Around the collapse site, a radius of a good 50 meters was cordoned off.

TLUBN President Suckert said it remains to be seen whether it is actually a sinkhole or a so-called day break that comes from an old mine. Sinkholes are natural events that are caused in particular by water-soluble rock layers. These dissolve and overlying, non-water-soluble rock layers break into the resulting cavity. In Thuringia this happens about 20 times a year; this year already seven times.

Daily fractures, on the other hand, are usually caused by the collapse of unfilled old mine tunnels underground, which then break through to the earth’s surface, and according to the TLUBN they are rather rare.