Man Has Lucky Escape After Falling Into 15-Foot 'Sinkhole' Under His Porch

A man has had a lucky escape after falling into "some type of sinkhole" that opened up beneath his porch, leaving him "dangling" dangerously over the void.

KC Kelley, who lives in Central Virginia, had gone outside to clear snow from his car when he felt his foot sink.

In the dark he plunged into the hole—but managed to use the shovel he was carrying to stop himself tumbling all the way to the bottom. He then used it as purchase to help him clamber back out.

The 33-year-old described the incident to Newsweek, saying: "Our porch is made out of stone slabs and dirt, so it's pretty much just an elevated piece of ground.

"We had just recently gotten a heavy snowfall, leaving about 5 to 6 inches of snow, which is unusual for our area of Central Virginia. I was walking across the porch and my wife was a few steps behind me, when I took a step and I felt my right foot start to sink.

"My initial thought was that I had stepped off the porch and sunk into a pile of snow, however I quickly realized I was still in the middle of the porch. I was carrying a shovel to clear the snow around my car and when I fell the shovel caught the top of the opening, which allowed me to catch the edge of the hole.

"It was then I realized that I had fallen into some type of sinkhole and that from my chest down I was dangling into an unknown depth."

He went on: "It was dark outside so I couldn't see how far the hole traveled down. I wasn't particularly frightened as I hung there, just hyper-aware of what was happening. I just knew not to move fast to ensure no more of the hole would collapse.

Sinkhole under KC Kelley's porch.
Hole that opened up under KC Kelley's porch. The 33-year-old was walking to his car when he began to tumble into the void. KC Kelley

"I pulled myself up and laid flat on the ground pushing myself across the porch, similar to if I had fallen through ice on the lake, trying to disperse my weight."

After getting to safety, Kelley and his wife grabbed a flashlight and tape measure to inspect the hole.

"Once I was out of the hole, I was able to see down in where I had almost fallen and realized I was lucky to have not fallen all the way to the bottom."

He added: The hole measures approximately 15 feet deep and 10 feet wide. The hole appeared to extend several feet underground."

Kelley, who rents the property, called the owner who came by to make arrangements for repairs.

Speculating about what the hole could be, Kelley added: "I am not sure if this is a true sinkhole or if it is an old cistern that was covered up, started leaking and washed away soil, leading to a collapse. Either way the hole extends down towards the foundation of the house, which we were just barely able to see.

Sinkhole under KC Kelley's porch.
The hole under KC Kelley's porch. He measured it as 15 feet deep and 10 feet wide. KC Kelley

"The house was built in the early 1930s when cisterns were a common form of water collection, so it is possible that is what this is."

He added: "I never knew the hole was there, it appeared suddenly when I stepped and no other holes have appeared before or since.

"We slept in the house last night, but are unsure if we will have to move due to safety and or the need for repair."

Kelley posted snaps of the void to Reddit's Well That Sucks forum on Monday.

He wrote: "Welp, I almost fell into a sinkhole under my porch. I caught myself on the edge of the hole, from my chest down was just dangling beneath me."

He added: "Fun fact I watched the movie Journey to the Center of the Earth yesterday."

Sinkhole under KC Kelley's porch.
Photo taken by KC Kelley inside the hole. KC Kelley

His post has amassed nearly 34,000 upvotes on Reddit, as well as many shocked comments.

Plutus9 joked: "Now you got a trap door."

Facialscanbefatal admitted: "This is one of my great fears. Thanks for reaffirming it."

Wickedfrickin posted: "This is like nightmare stuff for me. I'd have to sell my house and move. I could never trust the ground under my feet again, it would just overwhelm my brain."

A-Dolahans-hat wrote: "Glad you are safe. That would have been terrifying."

Inspecting the hole in daylight, Kelley reckoned the opening "appears to have opened up a bit more."