WAYNESVILLE, Mo. – A Marine stationed at Fort Leonard Wood died Monday evening after falling 70 feet into a sinkhole while bow hunting near his home north of the Buckhorn area. 31-year-old Curtis Powelson told his wife that he had shot a deer and was going to track it in the woods. When he did not return home, she reported him missing to the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department.
Rescue workers combed the woods behind Powelson’s house for about 5 hours before discovering the sinkhole. Pulaski County Assistant Coroner Michael McCart said, “we had several firefighters and deputies that almost stepped into it themselves, just out there wandering around looking for him last night.”
McCart and a firefighter were able to rappel down about 70 feet to retrieve Powelson’s body. According to McCart, the sinkhole appeared fresh and was likely a result of recent rains: “From the looks of the sinkhole itself and the lack of debris that’s in the sinkhole, it’s fairly new.”
Authorities believe that tall foliage along with low light conditions made the sinkhole very difficult to see.