A father has told how he cheated death by "three seconds" after a 70ft-deep sinkhole appeared outside his front door.
Harri Chadha was caught off-guard when a giant cavern suddenly opened up where he had been standing moments earlier.
Dramatic pictures show how the 15ft-wide hole swallowed his garden path and communal front garden at his home in Halesowen, West Midlands, in November.
Chadha said: “I must have done something good somewhere because I really should be dead.”
Watch: Man was ‘close to death’ after sinkhole opened up at his home
Fashion photographer Chadha said he had been standing on the path after closing his front door moments before the earth “collapsed in on itself”.
He suggested if it had happened three to five seconds earlier, he “would have been a goner for certain”.
He added: “The sinkhole was 70ft deep, I don’t think they would have ever found my body."
Chadha moved into his leasehold property in Hayden Arch Court 13 years ago.
He is now in temporary rented accommodation after eight residents were evacuated, and has been told it could “take months” to make his home safe.
Chadha claimed he was initially told it was okay to stay at his home for the night despite “gas gushing out of the hole”.
The sinkhole is thought to have been caused by underground sewage pipes collapsing as a result of building work being done above ground.
Gas pipes were smashed in the collapse, leading firefighters to order an immediate evacuation.
Severn Trent Water blamed the sinkhole on building work being carried out without planning permission.
The hole is being filled in with another hole dug to collect water which is being pumped into a nearby river.
Meanwhile, gas and water companies are desperately trying to make the area safe to allow people back in their homes.
In total, eight residents have not been allowed back to their properties at Haden Arch Court, which is managed by Remus, since the sinkhole appeared on 20 November.
The families have been given financial assistance by Severn Trent – which has not accepted liability - with four still being supported.
A spokesman for Severn Trent said: “Despite Severn Trent not being at fault, and as a gesture of goodwill, we have provided alternative accommodation for some of the residents, as this is clearly a distressing time for everyone, especially over the holidays.”