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SAPPORO (Kyodo) A woman died Thursday after falling into a sinkhole on a golf course in Hokkaido while playing with her husband and their two sons.

The family was walking along the fairway at the Le Petaw links in Abira at around 2:20 p.m. when Takae Gassho, 38, suddenly fell into a water-filled hole about 5 meters deep and 1.5 meters wide, police said.

They said the hole may be a sinkhole. A pond is nearby and the soil at the accident site may have been eaten away by groundwater, they said.

Although Gassho’s family tried to pull her out, she apparently drowned at the bottom after losing consciousness, the police said.

After retrieving her body, rescue workers said she probably failed to notice the hole because it might have been covered by grass.

The golf course, about 20 km east of New Chitose Airport, had just resumed business on March 28 after closing for the winter.

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