China: Around The Nation

Two people missing in central China after being swallowed by huge city-centre sinkhole

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 02 August, 2016, 12:23pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 02 August, 2016, 12:49pm

Two Chinese people were rescued but two others remain missing after falling into a 600-square-metre sinkhole that formed within minutes in a city street following Monday night’s heavy rains, mainland media report.

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Rescue efforts were continuing on Tuesday morning to try to find the two missing people, who were swallowed up by the five-metre deep hole beside Zhongyuan Road in the western part of the city of Zhengzhou, the news website reported.

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The huge sinkhole appeared in the capital of central Henan province at about 7.30pm, just after a heavy rainstorm had stopped.

One rescue worker at the scene told the Henan Business Daily that the sinkhole started out as a only crack in the road surface, but grew rapidly.

Within five minutes, a small sinkhole had formed that led to the collapse of a grassy area beside the road.

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Soon afterwards pavements were swallowed up as the sinkhole rapidly grew in size causing a few passers-by to fall inside.

These people managed to climb to safety but the larger sinkhole then suddenly appeared as more ground gave way– rapidly growing to a size of 30 metres long and 20 metres wide – and causing four pedestrians to fall into the hole.

Two of the people were pulled to safety, but two others are still missing.

Three electric vehicles were also swallowed by the sinkhole.

The city’s water supplier said the series of sinkholes had been caused by the heavy rains, combined with a burst underground water pipe.