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Two Killed in Atlanta as Sinkhole Engulfs Part of Hotel Parking Lot

June 15, 1993| From Associated Press

ATLANTA — A sinkhole, apparently caused by severe storms that overwhelmed an old sewer pipe, swallowed part of a hotel parking lot Monday, killing two people.

One of the dead was Victoria Vaynshteyn, 26, whose car was swallowed up by the sinkhole as she drove to her job at the Courtyard by Marriott hotel.

The other victim, Oscar Cano, was a restaurant worker at the hotel. He was apparently in the parking lot looking for someone to jump-start his car when the sinkhole swallowed him up shortly before dawn, a family friend said.

Rescue workers found Vaynshteyn's body in the sinkhole. Cano, 33, was found dead near the sewer pipe, and authorities said his body had been swept there by rushing water.

Rescuers tethered by ropes searched the 100-foot-wide, 25-foot-deep hole for more cars but retreated to allow public works officials to try to stabilize the area.

"There's not anything we can do until they make this site safe," said Fire Department spokesman Tim Szymanski. "We don't have any idea how many cars are down there."

Authorities warned the hole could widen if more rain fell.

The storms, which hit Atlanta and other parts of north Georgia before dawn, apparently flooded a 70-year-old drainage pipe under the parking lot, causing the pipe to burst and the sinkhole to form, authorities said.

The National Weather Service said 2.2 inches of rain fell on parts of downtown Atlanta within 40 minutes as the thunderstorms passed through.

The hotel itself was not threatened by the sinkhole, but guests were evacuated after its utilities were cut off.

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