Huge sinkhole swallows bus, kills nine in China

Huge sinkhole swallows bus, kills nine in China

A bus and several passersby fell into the huge sinkhole as it spread
A bus and several passersby fell into the huge sinkhole as it spread AFP/STR

BEIJING: An enormous sinkhole swallowed a bus and pedestrians in China, sparking an explosion, killing nine people and leaving four more missing, state media said Tuesday (Jan 14).

Footage showed people at a bus stop running from the collapsing road, as the bus - jutting into the air - sank halfway into the ground.

Several people disappeared into the sinkhole as it spread, including what appeared to be a child.

The incident, outside a hospital, also triggered an explosion inside the hole, video showed.

The incident occurred at around 5.30pm on Monday in Xining, the capital of Qinghai province, CCTV said, adding 16 people had been taken to hospital.

Sinkholes are not unknown in China, where they are often blamed on construction works and the country's rapid pace of development.

A search and rescue operation involving more than 1,000 people and 30 vehicles was underway, according to the official Xinhua news agency. An investigation into the cause has been opened.

Video footage published by state broadcaster CGTN showed a person being pulled from the hole by rescue workers.

The collapse left an 80-square-metre pit in the street outside a hospital.

The 16 injured were taken to hospital and are in a stable condition, Xinhua added, citing a local emergency management official.

An earlier report indicated that 10 people were missing but Xinhua said four were unaccounted for.

In 2016, at least three people fell into a huge sinkhole in central Henan province, which swallowed a section of road and passersby.

An initial investigation showed the collapse might have been caused by water pipes buried under the road breaking up due to the rain.

In 2013, five people died when a 10-metre wide sinkhole opened up at the gates of an industrial estate in Shenzhen.

Source: AFP/rw