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Tourist survives being swallowed by a sinkhole in Aké

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
A pyramid at the archaeological site of Aké in the municipality of Tixkokob, Yucatán. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

A tourist at the archaeological site of Aké got more than she bargained for when she nearly died swallowed up by a sinkhole.

The woman, a French-Mexican national identified only as María OM, says that she had been walking around the perimeter of the site when she was suddenly shoulder-deep in thick clay-like mud. 

“The ground looked perfectly solid, it did not even look muddy, but before I knew it I was sucked in completely,” said María.

The woman said that she tried to free herself but that she was unable to do so. Hearing screams, her friends came to her rescue and extracted the shaken woman from the muddy chasm. 

Feeling extremely shaken up, the group then decided to leave the scene before alerting authorities.

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“There should have really been a sign or something to alert visitors of these types of sinkholes. It was a terrifying experience,” said one of María’s companions.

The group of tourists said that they later attempted on several occasions to report the incident to local and federal authorities, but never received an answer.

“We want the authorities to do something about this. It was very frightening but I managed to get out quickly thanks to my friends, but what if I had been alone? What would happen if a child ventured off in that area?” said María.

The area surrounding Aké is well known for an abundance of cenotes and cave formations that, when flooded, can create dangerous sinkholes.

It is also possible that the hole which the tourist got stuck in was an ancient Maya cistern known as a chultún

The mouth of a chultún is often only a few inches across, but with heavy rains and erosion, they are known to cave in, opening large chasms to the deep cisterns below. Photo: Courtesy
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