Two victims of Chinese sinkhole collapse dead as rescuers continue search for missing
Authorities confirm that two of those swallowed up after pavement collapse in Sichuan have died while two are still thought to be trapped in the rubble
Two people rescued from the rubble after a pavement collapsed in southwestern China on Sunday have died, local authorities said on Monday.
Despite initial suggestions that two other people had been rescued from the sinkhole, later reports clarified that they were still missing 48 hours after the incident and rescuers were continuing to search for them.
The street in a busy commercial district in Dazhou city in Sichuan province collapsed on Sunday afternoon, swallowing four people into the sinkhole stretching some 3 metres (10ft) in diameter.
Rescue teams have been working round the clock to locate the two missing persons, believed to be a grandfather and grandson, according to news portal Sichuan Online.
The first person was rescued from the rubble just past midnight on Sunday but died on the way to the hospital.
Nine hours later, rescuers found a second person, who also died soon afterwards, according to an official Dazhou city Weibo account.
Authorities have said the rescue efforts have been complicated by a system of pipes running through the collapsed area, and they have brought in excavators and rock drills to facilitate the search as they continue to dig deeper down in the debris, the official post said.
Rescuers found the first victim 6.5 metres below ground, according to Sichuan Daily, and have since dug the area to a depth of 8 metres as the hunt for the remaining two continues.
Initial rescue efforts were slowed down by a second collapse that occurred on Sunday, sending a cascade of concrete debris down the pit while workers were still inside the sinkhole. There were no reports of injury following that collapse.
A young boy suffered minor injuries after he fell into the hole on Sunday evening and was pulled out by passersby.
In addition to the search for the two trapped people, authorities have evacuated nearly 200 households in the surrounding area.
The evacuations followed Monday afternoon inspections of the structural strength of the area’s infrastructure conducted by a geological team of over a hundred workers, according to Thepaper.cn.