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Fisherman Feared Dead in Freak Draining of Hungarian Lake; Collapsed Mineshaft Eyed

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VESZPRéM, Hungary -- A man is believed to have drowned after a mineshaft collapsed on Sunday under an artificial lake located between Sümeg and Nyirád (Veszprém County), swallowing some 40,000 cubic meters of water, reports The man is thought to have been fishing on the lake when the rupture occurred and to have been sucked underground, along with several hundred kilograms of fish.

The Veszprém County Police said that the man, identified only as a 34-year-old resident of a local social institution, had gone fishing on Sunday, but failed to return. Around 70 civilian guards and police officers searched the vicinity of the lake, known as Darvas-tó, for two days, but found nothing. The search for the man was suspended on Wednesday.

A 60-meter-deep hole formed after the collapse, which sucked 80% of the fish that the lake had been stocked with into the mine underneath. A similar collapse took place a few hundred meters from the lake's shore last year, but nobody was injured during that incident. The water level of the lake sank two meters after Sunday's breach.

While it is theorized that the man was swept away by the water rushing into the mine, two other men who were fishing at the lake say that they did not see anyone else. In addition, residents of the institution are known to disappear for a few days, said Police Spokesperson Norbert Futtató.

The section of the lake where the shore and bottom collapsed is considered extremely dangerous and should not be approached, Futtató added.

It is currently not known how many other lakes in Hungary are compromised by nearby mines. Meanwhile, scientists are attempting to determine whether the water sucked from Darvas-tó through the mine could end up in the drinking water of nearby towns.

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