Body recovered from sinkhole in Queen Creek

Posted at 2:54 PM, Feb 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-06 21:06:27-05

A 60-year-old farm worker is dead after a sinkhole opened near a field in Queen Creek Friday.

Recovery crews recovered the man's body out of the hole near Power and Ocotillo roads after crews spent several hours at the site. 

He has since been identified as Guadalupe Gomez Nila of Queen Creek.

The 15-foot-wide sinkhole formed between 1 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. as the man was working. Queen Creek spokeswoman Constance Halonen-Wilson said witnesses reported seeing him get out of his truck and disappearing a short time later.

Maricopa County Sheriff's Office spokesman Detective Doug Matteson said the man was walking to the back of the truck and taking off his work belt when he was swallowed into the ground. Matteson acknowledged it was incredibly bad luck for the ground to give way just as the man was walking in the area.

"It's kind of like getting stuck by lightning," Matteson said.

Mary Jane Mack happened to be looking out at the field from behind her house.

She was watching in that moment when the ground beneath the farmer's feet betrayed him.

"He went down fast, his hands were up in the air, and he went down fast. I waited to see if he would get back up. He didn't."

Investigators said the area had just been irrigated. Matteson said the abundance and dirt made the recovery effort more difficult.

"They put a lot of water in this field, so what happened was the water... the dirt became loose and the water started pouring into the sinkhole. It was almost like a raging river going under there, and it probably trapped this person underneath."