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Giant Sinkhole Swallows Homes, Killing Two

My Thoughts 

 I found this Article in AOL News also, it was supprising to see this. I wonder how this was possible and killing 2 ppl at it. I dont have much to say bout it, just shocked bout it. 

What are your thoughts?

Updated:2007-02-24 10:04:31

Giant Sinkhole Swallows Homes, Killing Two



GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala (Feb. 24) – A 330-foot-deep sinkhole killed two teenage siblings when it swallowed about a dozen homes early Friday and forced the evacuation of nearly 1,000 people in a crowded Guatemala City neighborhood.

Officials blamed the sinkhole on recent rains and an underground sewage flow from a ruptured main. They warned that the crater could widen or others could open up.

The bodies of the brother and sister were found near the enormous fissure, floating in a river of sewage. Their father was still missing, according to disaster coordinator Hugo Hernandez.

“We have closed the valves on the storm and sewer drains and we are going to wait until the area stabilizes before going down there to evaluate, but in the meantime, the mouth of the hole will certainly become larger,” said Alvaro Rodas, the director of social development for Guatemala City.

The pit emitted foul odors, loud noises and tremors, shaking the surrounding ground. A rush of water could be heard from its depths.

Authorities have warned that the sounds coming from the sinkhole augured further possible collapses, and possibly the destruction of more homes. The dwellings around the crater have been evacuated, and police cordoned off a 500-yard security perimeter around the hole.

Edward Ramirez said he and other residents had been hearing noises and feeling tremors for about a month before the ground opened up before dawn, waking many in the poor neighborhood.

“People were shouting ‘The electric posts are falling down!”‘ said the 26-year-old Ramirez, who lives 50 yards from the hole. “We are going to a friend’s house now. There’s no way we’ll stay here.”

Authorities had apparently suspected something was wrong with the site before the sinkhole appeared.

“We knew, and the INSIVUMEH (the country’s seismology institute) had placed a seismic meter there,” Rodas said. “The city government had contracted a robotic camera system to go down there, but the disaster occurred first.”

Maria Rivas said she was in her home when the sinkhole opened.

“I started to hear booming and I felt the earth shaking, and then I realized that the homes had collapsed” into the sinkhole, she said.

Police helped residents move out of their homes throughout the day. Some officers carried refrigerators and TV sets on their shoulders, while other pushed sofas on makeshift carts.

The dead were identified as Irma and David Soyos, said emergency spokesman Juan Carlos Bolanos.

Rescue operations were on hold until a firefighter, suspended from a cable, could take video and photos above the hole and officials could use the documentation to decide how to proceed. From the air, the sinkhole looked like a bottomless, black pit surrounded by concrete streets, tin-roofed shacks and a couple larger buildings.

Security officials guarded the site from possible looters and to clear the area of onlookers.

Cristobal Colon, a spokesman for the municipal water authority, said the sewage main ruptured after becoming clogged. He said the city was aware of the blockage and the army had been considering a controlled explosion to clear the pipe, which carries both rainwater and sewage for much of the capital.

Antonio Fuentes, 50, said he plans to abandon the run-down neighborhood he has called home for 15 years.

“Last night, a friend had to take my handicapped wife out on motorcycle,” he said. “Now I’m leaving for good, never to come back.”

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. All active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.


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