Beach disappears down hole
IT started as a small hole on the beach at Inskip Pt but, as the sand kept collapsing, it soon grew to 30m diameter and showed no sign of stopping.
That was 10am Saturday. Then it reached the dunes, trees started dropping into the boiling sandy sea water and stunned beach goers moved children and vehicles out of the way.
By yesterday, it looked big enough to swallow at least one sports field, with one estimate putting its size at 200m across.
Fortunately, the sink hole that seemed insatiable has stopped, with the ocean already returning the famous Inskip beach to normal.
“It was incredible,” Cooroy visitor Jim Wyers said of the sink hole, which he witnessed as it began to swallow a big part of the earth beneath his feet.
Mr Wyers also took some dramatic photos of the beach breaking into segments as it fell into the ocean.
“My son saw it early on, when it was about 20m wide.
“We did what campers do and had breakfast before coming back for another look.
“That’s when our jaws dropped. There were trees falling in and signs washed away and helicopters flying around.
“The beach has already started to come back, but on Saturday you couldn’t see the bottom – it just kept dropping and dropping and getting bigger.
“What started out as a little horseshoe shaped area kept eating into the sides.
“One local said he’d seen it before and it would eat into the forest.
“He was right. It took an hour or more, but it just kept eating into the beach.
“It’s been good for us because it means drivers are having to use the road instead of the beach,” he said.
The bottomless hole that suddenly opened up in the popular beach was also a shock for Hervey Bay visitor Ron Morgan.
Mr Morgan said he thought it was possible the erosion might be because the fresh-water table was so full from recent rain that a spring had bubbled up through the sand, destabilising the beach.
A Queensland Parks and Wildlife spokesman predicted a rapid return to normal conditions.
He told AAP the erosion was not connected with tourists or 4WD vehicles driving on the sand.
Camp sites were well out of harm’s way and the spokesman said the beach was on a peninsula largely surrounded by water, making this sort of erosion.
Sink holes are often, but not exclusively associated with limestone country, where sub-surface rock can be dissolved and washed out.