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Stroke of luck: Electrician narrowly escapes as an enormous crater swallows up his backyard



By Daily Mail Reporter

Last updated at 12:35 PM on 14th April 2010



A father-of-two has narrowly avoided being sucked into a massive sinkhole which formed a 25ft deep crater in his backyard just seconds after he walked across it.

Electrician Ben Luck lived up to his name after the crater, measuring 20ft wide, swallowed up most of his patio just as he went inside his house.


Mr Luck, 57, and his wife Jean, 55, initially thought a car had crashed into their three-bedroom home.


Lucky: Ben Luck was shocked after a 20ft sinkhole swallowed up his patio minutes after he walked across it

'It was like an earth quake, there was a rumbling and we both ran out to look and there just a couple of steps away there was this monstrous hole,' Mr Luck said.


'It was there in a second. There wasn't a bit of dust, and there was no sign of the crazy paving, it had all disappeared in the hole. It was about 25 foot deep.'







'I had been gardening and my wife called me inside for lunch and I walked across the patio. If I had been there at the time I would have died, there wouldn't have been any trace of me. I feel very lucky, luck by name, luck by nature I suppose.'


The couple and their children immediately fled their house and have since had to move into a hotel.

'I was terrified, I was shaking. I told my wife to run. I was worried the house would fall into it, I still am, Mr Luck said.




Narrow escape: Mr Luck and his wife have had to move out of their home while the hole is filled with concrete


Structural engineers have told the couple they can't return to their home, in Grays, Essex, until there is no risk the house will cave in.

The massive crater has increased in size since it was first exposed and has been sealed off with metal safety railings.


Engineers said the swallowhole was caused after water penetrated chalk 80ft below the house, causing hundreds of tonnes of earth to shift in a second.


The couple plan to fill the hole with concrete but will be out of their home for up to eight weeks.


'Me and my wife are still in shock. Last year we held my son's wedding reception in the garden and about 100 people attended so it was lucky it didn't collapse then,' he said.


'There were people on the patio drinking cocktails and waitresses serving drinks. It would have been a disaster if it had gone then.'

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