The ground shook and windows blew out in Lake County, Florida on Sunday as a resort near Disney World collapsed while sinking into a 100-foot wide sinkhole. Guests were given a scant 10-15 minute warning to evacuate the Summer Bay Resort as the building cracked and popped during its fall into the giant sinkhole. All guests managed to escape and no one was injured but nearly 40 guests lost personal belongings to the massive sinkhole.
Security guard Richard Shanley was on duty and sprang into action as the buildings began to collapse. Shanley ran room to room beating on doors and assisting people as they scampered through windows to escape the collapse.
“It was scary. You don’t know what to do. It was a matter of just reacting because the building was coming down so quickly. But you do what you can do to get people out. I didn’t know what was happening, instinct took over. People were petrified and confused.”
The Summer Bay Resort president said he received a call after 11:00 PM on Sunday about the resort full of guests sinking into the ground. One building suffered catastrophic destruction while two others suffered structural damage. One guest, 27-year-old Maggie Ghamry, retold the experience to reporters,
“We checked in at 5:30 and by 11:30 all our belongings were gone, except for our bathing suits and our lives, which we’re thankful for. It sounded like a fight – like multiple people with aluminum baseball bats who were swinging them against the windows, and then one window broke.”
Ghamary and her family grabbed as many belongings as they could carry and ran from the collapsing building. What they saw outside was terrifying.
“All of us were like deer in headlights. You don’t see a building every day twisting around like it was in a vortex and coming down around you, and seeing the room you would have slept in with three toddlers sink 50 feet into the ground and then two floors collapsing on top of them.”
The Summer Bay Resort is located on 300-acres in the Four Corners area of Orlando, just a few miles west of the Walt Disney World resort. The U.S. Geological Survey has begun drilling and testing to see if the sinkhole has stabilized.