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New Jersey 'sinkhole' floor collapse swallows forklift, operator

Posted By GABRIELLE LEVY, UPI.com   |   May 21, 2013 at 8:14 AM   |   Comments

May 21 (UPI) -- A forklift and its operator were swallowed whole when the ground opened up underneath him while he was working in a warehouse in East Rutherford, New Jersey Monday afternoon.

The worker was transported to nearby Hackensack University Hospital with non-life threatening injuries after extracting himself from the machinery, the South Bergenite reported.

Rescuers said the forklift likely saved the worker's life, shielding him from being crushed when the floor collapsed beneath him.

Investigators determined a 40-foot-by-40-foot structural collapse under the rear of the warehouse had rendered the building unsafe, East Rutherford Assistant Fire Chief John Giancaspro said. The warehouse and the buildings on either side were evacuated as a precaution.

Engineers are still trying to determine the exact cause of the floor collapse.

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