Sinkhole Survivor Fought to Stay Alive

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Boksam Khim found himself upside down, strapped into a car at the bottom of a huge sinkhole that was quickly filling with water.

    The man whose car flipped into a massive sinkhole early Saturday on Chicago's northwest side says he thought he was going to die.

    Boksam Khim, 55, was on his way to work as a machinist when he turned the corner at Foster and Elston, and the earth fell out from under him.

    Raw: Sinkhole on City's Northwest Side

    [CHI] Raw: Sinkhole on City's Northwest Side
    A man in his 30s said to be in good condition after the Acura he was driving plunged into a sinkhole and flipped upside down on the Northwest Side Saturday morning.

    The Acura that Khim was driving had flipped into a massive sinkhole, landing upside down.

    Khim said instantly, water from a broken main rushed into his car.  And as the water level started to rise, he realized he could not get his seat belt off.

    "I stopped breathing and made my stomach smaller and smaller," he said, explaining how he struggled to free himself. Khim said it took him at least 5 minutes, and the water was up to his chin when he finally got the belt to let go.

    Freed from his seatbelt, Khim said he climbed out his window and yelled for help. He said it was minutes before someone threw a rope ladder down the hole, so he could climb out.

    Khim said he drives that route every day, and never saw any indication a sinkhole was opening up there. And Saturday morning, he says he didn't see the hole until he was already inside of it.

    Khim suffered scrapes, bumps and bruises, and has to use a cane to get around for awhile. Talking to him, you can see how shaken up he is, but physically, he's expected to be OK.

    The Streets and Sanitation Department did not know how long it would take to get the hole filled back in and the street repaired.