Klil Kimhi was attending a company party at the private pool in Karmi Yosef, a small settlement 25 miles southeast of Tel Aviv, when the incident occurred.
Video shows the pool suddenly emptying of water as people look on in disbelief. One man falls off his feet and is helped back up as festive pool toys are sucked past him into the hole:
Emergency responders told the Jerusalem Post that a 34-year-old man had also fallen into the pit but was able to pull himself out and suffered minor injuries.
“This is a very unusual incident,” paramedic Uri Damari told the paper. “When I got to the scene I saw a pit that had opened at the bottom of the empty pool. People who were at the site told me that the pit opened suddenly and within a few seconds all the water of the pool was pulled in.”
Rescuers said they found a 43-foot-deep hole under the pool, leading to a difficult, hours-long recovery effort.
One witness told the Times of Israel she’d shouted at her colleagues to exit the pool when the hole began to open, but they thought it was a game of some sort. “Seconds later, the ground just dropped,” she said. “I watched two people just disappear.”
Israeli Public Broadcaster Kan News reported the pool was built without a permit, and likely wouldn’t have been granted one given its proximity to a well-known cave.
Tel Aviv geology professor Shmuel Marco told YNet News that a construction defect likely played a role as well, speculating that over time, water seeping underneath the pool would erode the ground, eventually leading to its collapse.