Michael Ciron went out in his slippers to pick up his papers around 9:30 Sunday morning, and was unaware of the narrow eight to nine foot deep sinkhole in his Oceanside lawn until he fell into it.
"When I fell down there, it was scary," he told Newsday
. "The dirt down there was like sand."
He began calling for help but then, realizing he would need to get his head above ground level to be heard, began working to dig himself out.
“Taking the dirt from the higher part, scraping it down, and I finally got my head out,” CBS
quoted him as saying.
The man's cries woke his daughter Maria Ciron, 24, and she ran to his room to see if he was alright. After a few minutes she discovered where he was and called 911.
First Assistant Chief Thomas Bettes of the Oceanside Fire Department said he secured webbing around Michael Ciron's torso, then with another member pulled the octogenarian out.
"He was slipping in as we were there," First Assistant Chief Thomas Bettes of the Oceanside Fire Department told Newsday
. "His head was starting to go below the soil line where the grass is."
Webbing was secured around Ciron's torso and he was pulled out.
Ciron said he was sore after his fall but glad nothing had been broken, and he was pleased with the fact that he held on to his paper throughout the ordeal.
The Cirons think the hole might have been an old well or cesspool.
In March a woman in Florida
was rescued after falling into a sinkhole in her back yard. She had her mobile phone with her and called emergency services.