Sinkhole swallows up soccer fields in Illinois park

A soccer field in Illinois situated above a mine has been closed after a giant sinkhole swallowed the ground up, leaving a gaping 100-foot-wide crater in the middle of a community park.

Surveillance footage captured the moment that the 100-foot-wide sinkhole opened the ground up and started to swallow the artificial turf, and one of the soccer field’s light towers, before it completely vanished into the ground below.

A giant plume of dust and debris was shot up into the air above the soccer pitch, leaving a giant hole in the middle of the field.

Alton Parks and Recreation Director Michael Haynes told the Alton Telegraph on Wednesday that the park would be closed indefinitely “out of an abundance of caution.”

Haynes added that nobody was injured by the collapse, and no miners were hurt.

Alton Mayor David Goins added: “No one was on the field at the time, and no one was hurt, and that’s the most important thing."

The park will remain closed until engineers have determined that it is safe.

“We’re waiting to hear back from the mine and see what the geologists and the engineers have to say about it," Haynes told KSDK. "We’ll follow their lead on where to go from here. They can determine what happened, why it happened, how to prevent it, and how we fix what has happened here.”

The sinkhole appeared on Wednesday morning in Gordon Moore Park in Alton, Illinois, engulfing an area of an artificial turf soccer field situated above a limestone mine for Bluff City Minerals.

The resulting hole is at least 100 feet wide and around 50- 30 feet deep, Haynes said, adding that it looks like “something out of a movie.”

The area collapsed just above the 40 to 50-foot-thick ceiling of the mine. The Bluff City Minerals quarry has been operated under the ground for many years, and is located next to the park’s west side, the Alton Telegraph reported.

A spokesperson for New Frontier Materials, speaking on behalf of Bluff City Minerals, confirmed to the local newspaper that their underground mine in Alton had experienced a “surface subsidence” which “opened a sink hole at Gordon Moore City Park.”

"The impacted area has been secured and will remain off limits for the foreseeable future while inspectors and experts examine the mine and conduct repairs,” the spokesperson said. “No one was injured in the incident, which has been reported to officials at the Mine Safety Health Administration (MSHA) in accordance with applicable regulations.”

“Safety is our top priority. We will work with the city to remediate this issue as quickly and safely as possible to ensure minimal impact on the community,” they added.

Haynes told KSDK that the collapse occurred in between two of their soccer fields, swallowing up half of each field, which were part of a recreation area they had just spent a million and a half dollars on five years ago to complete their new turf, soccer, and football fields, and concession stands.

“It’s a little disheartening,” Haynes added.

Alton Parks and Recreation wrote on social media that all programs, sports, and events due to be held at Gordon Moore Park were canceled on Wednesday and Thursday while the sinkhole investigation continues.