Originally created 09/05/01

Man dies after sinking into cesspool



HUNTINGTON, N.Y. -- A man who had been practicing archery in the back yard with his two children died when his cesspool caved in and swallowed him, police said.

Michael Lobasso, 35, a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent, was standing on the ground above the cesspool when it gave way at about 12:40 p.m. Monday, Suffolk County police said.

Searchers located his body a few hours later, but worked throughout the night to remove it because the walls of the 18-foot-deep cesspool were crumbling on top of the quicksand-like pool, police said.

The body was recovered at about 6:30 a.m. Tuesday, Detective Sgt. Arthur Ahl said.

"The more they dug, the worse the body actually got stuck," he said.

When rescue crews arrived, they found a 3-foot-wide hole that grew to about 15 feet across as they searched, Huntington Manor Fire Chief Charles Hoffman said.

Fire officials told Newsday they didn't see any construction or digging that could have caused the cesspool to cave in.