Sinkhole Swallows Truck in Hawaii Trapping Woman After Heavy Rains

A woman in Hawaii woman is fortunate to be alive after she found herself at the bottom of a giant sinkhole after it opened underneath her truck.

Velma Deluz of Paauilo was driving to work when the road she was traveling on shifted and gave way Monday morning.

"When I made the turn, the road just sucked me right in, and then I just fell in," Deluz told KHNL of Honolulu. "I tried to climb out through the window because it fell on its side."

Deluz said she was lucky only to have suffered minor rib injuries.

The island experienced record rains with 5.51 inches falling on Monday alone, according to the National Weather Service.

Darryl Oliveira, director of the Hawaii County Civil Defense, revealed that flash floods, mudslides and falling debris were all issues related to the rainfall.

"It was spread out from Honoka'a to parts of Puna. Pretty widespread windward side," said Oliveira. "Definitely Highway 19, being the major thoroughfare for that area from Hilo out to Waimea was a big problem because of multiple landslides, a lot of debris, a lot of different areas of runoff."

"The truck was actually below road level completely hidden so it was a pretty substantial collapse in the road and fortunately, the driver wasn't hurt seriously," said Oliveira.

Civil Defense received many requests for sand bag assistance from residents and few businesses, but otherwise no evacuations or additional shelters were needed. Officials also had reports of water entering basements and other low-lying structures.

Sinkholes are caused when water flowing underneath the ground erodes away leaving a void that cannot support the weight on the surface level. There have been numerous reports of sinkholes in the United States in several states including Illinois and Florida this past year that have swallowed cars as well as houses.