NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – An NOPD officer saved a man from a sinkhole this morning in New Orleans East.
The man was doing landscape work for a nearby apartment complex when the lawnmower he was riding on was swallowed by a roughly five foot deep sinkhole near a leaking fire hydrant, according to a witness to the incident.
The scary situation unfolded in the 7400 block of Downman Road around 8 a.m.
The man, who the NOPD described as elderly, was on Downman near the intersection of Morrison Road when he fell into a large sinkhole, where he was completely submerged.
The first officer to respond to the scene pulled the man to safety, according to the NOPD.
The New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board said the sinkhole stems from a leak in a water main in the 7400 block of Downman Road. Officials learned about the leak on Tuesday and sent a crew to examine the problem. S&WB workers say on Wednesday, they contacted contractors to make repairs.
A spokesperson for the S&WB says the man who was pulled from the hole on Thursday was driving his lawn tractor on the sidewalk and over the water main, very close to the location of the leak.
The S&WB spokesperson says the weight of the tractor apparently caused the sidewalk to give way.
The S&WB also says one of its workers happened to be in the area at the time of the accident and stopped to help police rescue the man on the tractor.
Repair work began immediately and should be finished today.