Four dead after being swallowed by a massive sinkhole in China
Four people died when a massive sinkhole swallowed them in the Chinese city of Dazhou.
The ground ripped open around 2:30 p.m. Sunday in the city in Sichuan Province, leaving a 100-square-foot chasm by the time the earth settled.
Video posted to state-run social media shows the fateful moment, in which several people can be seen casually strolling through a city plaza before the ground opens and they plummet out of view.
Two victims who had recently been married died in state hospitals after being pulled from the pit, and the bodies of two other victims, a father, and his son, were taken from the sinkhole Tuesday after being buried under more than 30 feet of rubble — just beyond the reach of excavation equipment, CNN reported.
“The biggest difficulty is that the road surface is thick with a large amount of soil,” fire service official Gao Mingyue said during the search, according to the outlet.
“We had to move excavators to a lower place and we now have two large excavators digging out soils so that we can stand on a lower place and use the long arm excavator to dig deeper.”
More than 40 firefighters were involved in the search and rescue — and some were nearly gobbled up themselves when the sinkhole was disturbed during rescue attempts.
“When we arrived, the caved-in area was not big, which only covered [6½ feet] both in length and depth. But during the rescue process, it collapsed again, causing another [6½-foot] sink,” Gao said. “Firefighters at once evacuated while doing the rescue work.”
Underground infrastructure further hampered rescuers’ efforts, Gao said.
“Given what we found in the hole, cables are crossed in a mess, including two high-tension lines, weak electric wires and gas pipelines,” he said.
Officials have not said what led to the sinkhole, but they are often caused by underground erosion, CNN noted.