Scientist warns lives will be lost in an Inskip sinkhole

IT'S only a matter of time before someone dies at Inskip Pt, according to an earth scientist who wants planning reviewed and campers excluded from the area.

Ted Griffin (pictured) saw a crater like the "sinkhole" witnessed on Saturday open in the "exact same spot" in the late 1960s.

"The people who were actually asleep there, they could have died," he said of Saturday's event.

READ MORE: A loud roar: The moment a giant sinkhole opened at Inskip Pt

Mr Griffin's father ran the sand mine that operated north of Rainbow Beach at Inskip Pt.

He now works as an earth scientist for the West Australian government's agriculture department.

He said it was "poor planning" to allow people to sleep north of Inskip Pt Rd, and called on decision makers to stop issuing permits for campers.

"It will happen again, perhaps not for 50 years, but it will happen again," he said.

"I saw one in exactly that same position, a day or so after it happened (in the late 1960s)."

WE SAY: Quakes, sinkholes, spouts... what's next?

A similar "sinkhole" event in the area was reported in 2011, and Rainbow Beach locals recalled "numerous" events.

Mr Griffin said the correct term for the hole that swallowed vehicles and tents at Inskip Pt on Saturday night was an "underwater landslide".

"A sinkhole is a thing that you see in America because of excavation underground, where the earth just falls into a hole," he said.

"It's also in limestone areas where there's caves - earth falls into (the) cave."

He said a large channel between Inskip Pt and Fraser Island regularly builds up a "shoulder" of sand, and falls away.

"This is a big channel, perhaps 50 or 100 metres. It's just a very unstable cliff of sand," he said.

"It seems to me very poor planning, that they've allowed development so close to such a vulnerable area."

The Department of National Parks, Sport and Racing said geoscientists had been contacted and would be assessing the site.

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