A woman driver was briefly trapped when a sinkhole swallowed her car as she drove along a street near downtown Toledo, Ohio on Wednesday.

Sixty-year-old Pamela Knox was driving her 2010 Chevy Malibu on North Detroit Avenue, near West Bancroft Street when she suddenly felt her car plunging into the dark. Before the elementary Glendale-Feilbach Elementary School principal could understand what was happening, her car had already fallen at least 10 feet into a sinkhole.

"I was calling on the name of Jesus and all I could do was say, 'Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,' and I kept saying it over and over and over again," Knox told the Toledo Blade.

"I know that's what kept me safe, was just calling on the power of the Lord," she added.

When Knox opened the door of her car, she realised a pipe right below the road was broken and was pumping water into her vehicle.

"Oh my goodness. They're not going to get me out of here in time," Knox recalled.

According to authorities, the sinkhole may have formed due to the broken water line, while heavy rains in the area from last month could be a contributing factor.

"Northwest Ohio paced well-ahead of its average rainfall during the last month. Toledo has had 6.46 inches of rain since June 1. The average is 3.78 inches for that period," Weather.com meteorologist Nick Wiltgen explained.

Knox finally managed to get out of the sinkhole when the firefighters arrived at the scene and rescued her. She was trapped inside the sinkhole for less than a minute, say reports.

Mayor Mike Bell told the Toledo Blade that it will take around five days to repair the damaged road.

Earlier in April this year, a massive sinkhole opened up in Chicago's South Deering neighbourhood and swallowed three cars at about 5:30 am local time.

At least one person was reported critically injured at that time, after being pulled out of the sink hole, believed caused by heavy rains and flooding.

Chicago news station WGNtv reported that the giant sink hole was expanding continually and had almost doubled in size in just half an hour.

In March, a man fell into a 20ft wide and 50ft deep giant sink hole that formed beneath his bedroom floor in Tampa Bay, Florida. After searching for Jeff Bush for nearly 72 hours, the search operations were called off by the authorities.

"We just have not been able to locate Mr. Bush, and so for that reason the rescue effort is being discontinued," Hillsborough County administrator Mike Merrill told reporters at the time.

"At this point, it's really not possible to recover the body."

Only two weeks later, another sink hole formed less two miles away from Bush's house but no one was harmed.