Caldwell said the resort underwent geological testing when it was built about 15 years ago, showing the ground to be stable, and that there were no signs beforehand that a sinkhole was developing. He said all affected guests had been given other rooms and some guests – many of whom had to leave their wallets, purses and other belongings behind in the quick evacuation – had been given cash advances.
Resort workers were working to do “whatever we need to do to make it right,” Caldwell said.
Technicians were on the scene in afternoon to inspect the structures, determine when anyone might be able to go back inside, and decide whether belongs would be recovered.
Security guard Richard Shanley had just started his night shift when he heard what he thought was screaming from the building. He said he thought some sort of violence might be going on.
“I come to find it was actually the building being pulled apart,” Shanley said.
He said the building seemed to sink by 10 to 20 inches and bannisters began to fall off the building as he ran up and down three floors trying to wake guests. One couple with a baby on the third floor couldn’t get their door open and had to break a window to get out, he said.
“It’s a scary situation,” Shanley said.
Guests credited him with saving lives by knocking on doors as pieces of the building began to break off.
Witnesses said they could hear a cracking sound as the villa began sinking.
Luis Perez, who was staying at a villa near the sinking one, said he was in his room when the lights went off around 11:30 p.m. He said he was on his way to the front desk to report it when he saw firefighters and police outside.<< previous 1 2 3 4 next >>