Watch: four people swallowed in China pavement collapse
Victims were hospitalised and police closed area surrounding the large sinkhole outside a local hospital
Four pedestrians were swallowed in a gaping hole after a pavement collapsed in a city in central China on Sunday afternoon, local media reported.
The four people were walking through a busy commercial district in Dazhou city in Sichuan province when a large section of a tiled pavement outside a local hospital gave way and they disappeared into the sinkhole.
They were rescued by emergency staff and taken to hospital, but there have been no details of the severity of their injuries, according to newspaper Huaxi City News.
Rescuers had a close shave when a second collapse around the same spot sent a cascade of concrete into the pit while they were still inside it. They scrambled to the other side and escaped injury.
A young boy fell into the crater-like sinkhole after the collapse, and was rescued by passers-by. He was mildly hurt.
Police cordoned off the area and shut down traffic while repairs and investigations were conducted.
Several such incidents have been reported around China in recent years. This summer a 50-metre stretch of a road collapsed in Guangan, Sichuan, after days of heavy rainfall.
Pavement collapses have caused injuries in the northwestern Gansu and northeastern Heilongjiang provinces, and caused the death of a Beijing woman in 2012 when she suffered severe burns from scalding water leaking from an underground pipe following a pavement collapse.