China pavement collapse kills newlyweds, father and 11-year-old son
‘They did no wrong, they were just walking on the street’
All four people who were trapped in a pavement collapse in Sichuan province on Sunday afternoon have now been confirmed dead. Two of them were newlyweds and the other two a father and his 11-year-old son.
More than 400 rescuers and 100 excavators with rock drills spent more than two days searching for the victims who disappeared when the sinkhole opened up in the busy commercial district of Dazhou city in southwestern China.
The father and son were found dead on the spot, while the couple were declared dead at the hospital.
The 45-year-old father’s eldest son, surnamed Tang, told Chinese news portal Thepaper.cn that he was chatting with his father via a mobile app when the phone suddenly cut out. He tried to contact his father repeatedly after the connection snapped, with no response.
Tang, who works as an auxiliary police officer in Dazhou, said he had asked the local authorities to explain why the road collapsed.
“They did no wrong, they were just walking on the street,” he said.
Authorities said the rescue effort was hampered by the number of houses near the site as well as the complicated nature of the sinkhole, which was around 10 sq m (32ft) in diameter and nearly 16m (52ft deep), and filled with water due to several days of rainfall.
The bride’s father, surnamed Mu, said the couple, who were both 23 years old, had married on October 3 – just four days before the incident – in their home village near the city. Both had worked in Chengdu, Sichuan’s capital, where she was a hospital nurse and he was a courier.
They had been planning to return to Chengdu that day, Mu said. Surveillance footage at a nearby bus station showed the young man buying coach tickets before the accident. The couple then went to a supermarket and bought wedding candies for their friends and colleagues.