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The Hermosillo sinkhole into which a cyclist plunged. The Hermosillo sinkhole into which a cyclist plunged.

Searchers recover body of cyclist who fell into sinkhole in Sonora

Firefighters traveled from Mexico City and Phoenix, Arizona, to assist in search for the body

An open and unmarked sinkhole in a street in the capital city of Sonora proved fatal for a 63-year-old cyclist.

The body of Julio Manuel Rodríguez Castro was recovered Monday — in what became an international search — from the sinkhole in Hermosillo.

Rodríguez fell into the two-meter-wide sinkhole in the Sonacer neighborhood on the evening of October 14. Witnesses said he appeared not to have seen the hole. One told the newspaper El Imparcial he went to help the cyclist after seeing him fall but could only see his bicycle.

“. . . we couldn’t see him, we could just hear him yelling,” he said.

Later, local rescue workers, with assistance from firefighters who traveled from Mexico City and Phoenix, Arizona, found Rodríguez’ body with the help of a specialized camera that was inserted into the drainage system at more than 50 different access points.

The body was located 390 meters from the sinkhole.

An autopsy found that Rodríguez had died by drowning.

The sinkhole had been reported on September 27, 17 days before the accident. Officials said it had been marked with security tape but sometimes the tape is broken by passersby.

According to Fire Chief Juan Francisco Matty Ortega, firefighters found significant deterioration of pipes during the search, and warned that another sinkhole could open up in the area.

Source: Reforma (sp), El Imparcial (sp)

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