A forklift operator in New Jersey was swallowed by an 8-foot-deep sinkhole when the floor of the warehouse where he had been working gave way in East Rutherford.

The man, identified by the Bergen Record as Bronx resident Danny Rodriguez, was taken to a nearby hospital and treated for back injuries. Rescuers said the forklift shielded the man and prevented him from being crushed when he fell into the 40 feet by 40 feet sinkhole. The warehouse, which is used to store nonperishable food items, was evacuated after the incident, which remains under investigation.

Sinkholes appear to be happening more frequently around the nation, the Examiner said. Last month, a sinkhole opened in the Chicago neighborhood of South Deering, swallowing three cars and injuring one person. It was believed the hole occurred after heavy overnight rains and flooding, though officials didn't confirm that. In March, a giant sinkhole opened beneath Jeff Bush's bedroom in suburban Tampa.

Although the Tampa area is prone to sinkholes, structural engineers expressed shock at the pace and structure of the sinkhole, which was described as about 20 feet to 30 feet across and about 30 feet deep. Since then, two sinkholes have appeared in Florida, putting residents on edge.