Portland man’s body found in backyard sinkhole

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The body of a Portland man has been found in a 35-foot-deep sinkhole partly filled with water in his backyard after a friend called police to say she hadn’t heard from him.

Dr. Karin Gunson, the state medical examiner, says 57-year-old Michael Zerwas died of a combination of hypothermia and drowning but survived the initial fall into the hole.

Officials say the hole was 5 feet wide and opened up over what appeared to be an old brick-lined cistern.

Police went to Zerwas’ home Sunday after being called by a woman in Iowa who said she hadn’t heard from him since Thursday.

Firefighter Justin de Ruyter was among those called to the scene after police found the body. He says he believes Zerwas, a private investigator, was gardening when the ground collapsed.


Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com