- Associated Press - Friday, February 5, 2016

QUEEN CREEK, Ariz. (AP) - A farm worker is feared dead after a sinkhole opened near a field on the outskirts of Phoenix on Friday.

The 15-foot-wide sinkhole formed between 1 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. as the man was working. Queen Creek spokeswoman Constance Halonen-Wilson said witnesses reported seeing him get out of his truck and disappearing a short time later.

Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Detective Doug Matteson said the man was walking to the back of the truck and taking off his work belt when he was swallowed. Matteson acknowledged it was incredibly bad luck for the ground to give way just as the man was walking in the area.

“It’s kind of like getting stuck by lightning,” Matteson said.

Matteson and Halonen-Wilson say the man is feared dead and that it would be a lengthy effort to recover the body because of the abundance of loose dirt and water in the hole. The accident occurred next to an irrigated field. Authorities don’t know how deep the hole is.

Fire and rescue crews were at the scene with trucks and ladders, peering into the hole as part of the recovery effort.

Queen Creek is a suburb about 40 miles southeast of Phoenix.

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