Teenager swallowed by sinkhole at Sydney soccer field after rain dump

Georgina Noack
The Nightly
2 Min Read
Oska Stockner found himself stuck in a sinkhole after the ground at his Boondah Reserve in Warriewood, on Sydney's northern beaches, gave way on Saturday (April 6).
Oska Stockner found himself stuck in a sinkhole after the ground at his Boondah Reserve in Warriewood, on Sydney's northern beaches, gave way on Saturday (April 6). Credit: Facebook

A 13-year-old boy’s afternoon with mates at the local soccer field turned into a rescue mission when the ground beneath him gave way and he was swallowed by a sinkhole.

Oska Stockner was running across the water-logged fields at Boondah Reserve in Warriewood, on Sydney’s northern beaches, on Saturday when he noticed a hole near the goalposts.

He told his mother, Bri Vine, the hole seemed no bigger than the size of his foot — at least until he took a closer look and the ground opened up.

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“Being a boy ... he trod in it, and the whole thing just gave way,” Ms Vine told The Sydney Morning Herald.

Oska’s friends called triple-zero once they realised how serious the situation was. They also called Ms Vine, who raced to the scene, saying Oska was fine but couldn’t feel his legs.

The hole, despite being about two metres-deep, was still narrow enough that when officers from the Northern Beaches Police Area Command arrived they reportedly had no idea where it was until Oska’s friends pointed it out.

As they approached, all they could see of Oska were his fingertips with his arms outstretched above his head.

Senior Constable David Ferguson arrived to a crowd of kids gathered around the hole and positioned himself carefully to pull the teenager out by the wrists.

“[Oska] said every time he tried to push with his feet, he sank further down, so he couldn’t really get any purchase to lift himself up,” Constable Ferguson told the Herald.

“The way he was in that hole was quite precarious. If that soil was to fall on top of him it would have landed straight onto his chest, and it probably would have taken him into the cavity.”

Oska was assessed by NSW Ambulance paramedics and given the all-clear to go home, escaping with only minor cuts and bruises.

Safety barriers have been installed around and over the sinkhole and a Northern Beaches Council spokesperson said the field was closed on Sunday “as a precautionary safety measure” and that council would assess options for rectification during the week.

Narrabeen Lagoon, in Sydney's Northern Beaches, flooded at the weekend (April 6) after heavy rainfall across NSW which wreaked havoc across the state.
Narrabeen Lagoon, in Sydney's Northern Beaches, flooded at the weekend (April 6) after heavy rainfall across NSW which wreaked havoc across the state. Credit: Tim Seaton/Facebook

The Boondah playing fields are built on an old landfill site, adjacent to Narrabeen Creek and the Warriewood Square shopping mall, near the Warriewood Wetlands. It is understood that although it is not unusual for holes to form in the fields, this one is bigger than usual.

Narrabeen Creek flows into Narrabeen Lagoon, which flooded at the weekend after nearly 200mm of rain fell at nearby Mona Vale and Terrey Hills and sent massive volumes of water downstream

Drone footage from local man Tim Seaton showed the extent of the lagoon flood, which triggered the NSW State Emergency Service to issue evacuation orders for surrounding low-lying areas, with many nearby streets, car parks and playing fields underwater.

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