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Woman survives after sinkhole swallows up her car with the woman still inside

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Posted at 9:08 PM, Aug 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-11 12:40:55-04

A New Jersey woman said she lost sleep thinking that she "was drowning" after being "in shock" after a water main break caused a massive sinkhole that swallowed up her car while she was still inside.

Lizette Pagan was in her car in Branch Brook Park located in Belleville, New Jersey when she found herself unable to escape her car at first when it began to sink into the ground on Tuesday.

“I’m still in shock. I couldn’t go to sleep last night because I thought I was drowning. So, I hope that fear goes away, you know?” Pagan says.

A crane had to be brought into the site on Wednesday to pull Pagan's car out after it sank so deep it was only partially above ground.

She was driving at around 5:30 a.m. local time on Tuesday through the area and said she saw water pooling up in the road with three cars in front of her trying to make it through, according to News 12 New Jersey.

She thought it was safe to pass but soon became engulfed in the water inside her car.

“I was trying to get the door open. I got bruises on my arm, and I couldn’t get it open. So then, what I did was I took off my seat belt, and I turned around and I was pushing it with the door, with my feet, my legs. I managed to get it a little bit open, and I managed to swim and walk to the edge,” Pagan says.

She said as she was trying to escape she thought of her family.

“I can’t just let go. I have to be strong for my granddaughters. God gave me the opportunity,” Pagan says.

Pagan is now working with her insurance company to cover the damage to her car, and will be taking an Uber to work now until she resolves her car issues with her insurance company.