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Sinkhole swallows elderly Florida couple's car

A few days ago, the earth opened up about an hour and a half north of Tampa and devoured a car. News media reports said that a sinkhole swallowed a car in an Ocala restaurant parking lot.

The sinkhole also ruptured a natural gas line, forcing evacuation of a shopping plaza. According to reports, the sinkhole opened up after a heavy rainfall flooded the parking lot.

A photographer for the Ocala StarBanner was in the area during the storm and saw a woman walk to her car in the lot. When she began walking toward the vehicle, water was around her ankles. In just a few moments, the water was waist-deep, he said.

Across the street, a 79-year-old woman and her 81-year-old husband had to quickly flee their vehicle as the sinkhole formed. It soon swallowed their vehicle.

Neither the woman nor man was injured, though their vehicle is likely damaged.

More than six and a half inches of rain fell in the area, a National Weather Service meteorologist told the newspaper.

An Ocala city official said that it appears that limerock beneath the parking lot was eroded and gave way, collapsing and forming the sinkhole. The official said that because the car and hole are on private property, the owners will have to figure out how damages will be addressed and repaired.

For Tampa residents who suffer property damage to their homes or vehicles due to a sinkhole, the process of filing a claim and receiving full compensation can be frustrating and time-consuming. You can speak with an insurance claims attorney about ways you can protect yourself and your family.

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