People were either in bed already or preparing to bed down for the night at a popular beach on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast when the unthinkable happened.
A giant sinkhole swiftly opened up around 11 p.m. local time on Saturday, growing to 328 feet by 328 feet (100 meters by 100 meters), and about 10 feet (3 meters) deep.
Camper Melanie Wotherspoon was one of those who barely escaped with their lives.
“Yep, can’t believe we made it out,” Wotherspoon wrote on Facebook. “I thought we were goners for sure, was truly scary how fast it came into our camp site and swallowed it up.”
A woman ran through the campsites on the beach, screaming at people to wake up and flee, reported the ABC.
Police and emergency crews soon arrived on site, but thanks to the warnings no one was reported injured or missing.
Dozens barely made it out of the area alive and 300 people in total were evacuated.
The sinkhole was initially linked to the number of small earthquakes in the region in recent weeks.
Senior ranger Daniel Clifton told the ABC that the campsites on either side of the sinkhole would remain closed until geotechnical engineers assessed the area using ground-penetrating radar.
“Our ultimate concern is about the safety of the visitors,” he said. “Until we get more information we’re not really sure about the stability of the site so we’re just being a bit precautionary.”