MALIBU (CBSLA) — A stretch of canyon road in the Santa Monica Mountains remains impassable Monday after a sinkhole opened up, swallowing an excavator and its operator.

Yerba Buena Road north of Yellow Hill in the Ventura County area of the Santa Monica Mountains remains closed to traffic.

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“I felt something weird. I thought I got a flat,” operator Gilbert Beltran said.

Gilbert was clearing the road Saturday after torrential rain brought down mud and debris from the fire-denuded hillsides. The area was burned in the Woolsey Fire just a few months ago, and scorched trees are still visible along the road.

“It just gave way, and the back end fell in,” Beltran said.

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Moments after he climbed off the excavator and out of the hole, the 20-foot front-loader sunk even further into the hole, burying the cab and leaving only the bucket above the surface.

“I’m really fortunate, thank God,” he said.

A pipe running underneath the roadway split in two for some reason, causing the sinkhole.

The day after falling into the sinkhole, Gilbert was back clearing Ventura County canyon roads.

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The road will remain closed until further notice.