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(KTVI) -A young Marine based at Fort Leonard Wood in mid-Missouri was killed in what authorities call a “bizarre” accident.  It happened at dusk Monday north of Buckhorn, MO.

Pulaski County Sheriff Ron Long said 31-year old Cortis Powelson fell into a sink hole as deep as a tall tree while returning home from deer hunting.

The county’s deputy coroner Michael McCart repelled into the hole to reach the body.  He said it was sixty to seventy feet deep and only about the size of a car at the top.

McCart, who describes himself as a life long deer hunter in the area, believes the sink hole is newly formed.  “With all the rain and everything we’ve had just in the last month, it looks like it was a very freshly opened sink hole,” he said Tuesday.  Heavy rainfall caused flash flooding in the area in August that took two lives.

Thirty to forty  first responders from several agencies began looking for the young man when he failed to return  home after telling his wife he was tracking a deer he had shot with a bow.  The sink hole was only several hundred yards from his backyard, but hidden by dense woods and briars.

“We had several firefighters and deputies that almost stepped into it themselves in the dark just out there looking for him last night,” McCart added.  They used a grid search system and lights.  The body was found at 3am Tuesday, but it took another three hours to retrieve it from the deep sink hole.

Funeral arrangements were pending Tuesday evening.
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  • Sinkhole - Hunting Fatality 1
  • Sinkhole  - Hunting Fatality 2
  • Rescuers rappel to search for the victim.  Image courtesy of the Pulaski County assistant coroner
  • Picture of the sinkhole that swallowed the hunter. Image courtesy of the Pulaski County assistant coroner

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