Sinkhole

Custer County Sheriff's Deputy Barrett Gbbions examines the sinkhole site after the driver was airlifted to a Kearney hospital.

CUSTER COUNTY — A man was trapped in a sinkhole under his vehicle since the evening of Tuesday, July 2. He was discovered on Wednesday, July 3 and had to be pulled out and airlifted to by Air Care to Kearney.

A man driving a red Chevy S10 Blazer was reported missing by a relative at 10:21 a.m. on Wednesday to the Custer County Sheriff’s Office, said Deputy Barrett Gibbons. The man was last seen driving north of Cozad around 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Gibbons said the accident likely took place after this sighting.

After searching the area, Gibbons located the Blazer in a corn field near the intersection of Road 417 and 774 around 1 p.m. The vehicle had fallen into a sinkhole and was suspended above a further 10 foot drop underneath. Gibbons said the driver attempted to exit the vehicle, but fell underneath, and the man was trapped in the sinkhole the entire night.

Cozad Fire and Rescue Assistant Fire Chief Gary Banzhaf said they were contacted at 1:12 p.m. for a call relating to a missing person who had fallen in a sinkhole north on Road 417 in Custer County. Banzhaf said they contact Air Care from Good Samaritan Hospital to meet them at the location. Cozad Rescue arrived on scene at 1:39 p.m.

Cozad Fire and Rescue responded with an ambulance and a utility rig along with 11 members, said Rescue Chief Brian Woldt. Law enforcement on scene was the Custer County Sheriff’s Office, Dawson County Sheriff’s Office and Nebraska State Patrol.

Cozad Rescue had to use a ladder crew to get down to the driver, put him in a harness and pulled him up out of the sinkhole. Banzhaf said the man was stabilized and given oxygen. He was also reported as being dehydrated.

The driver was then loaded up on to the Good Samaritan Air Care helicopter at 2:37 p.m. and transported to Kearney for further treatment.

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