Enormous sinkhole threatens to swallow family's home

·2-min read

A giant sinkhole that is expanding by dozens of metres each day has alarmed residents in a rural area of central Mexico where it is threatening to swallow a house.

When the Sanchez family heard a loud crash on Saturday they first thought that it was a lightning strike.

But they soon discovered the ground had collapsed just metres from their home in a field in Santa Maria Zacatepec in the state of Puebla.

Aerial view of a sinkhole that was found by farmers in a field of crops in Santa Maria Zacatepec, Mexico.
The massive sinkhole threatens a home in Santa Maria Zacatepec, Mexico. Source: AFP

The hole, which is full of water, was about 30 metres wide by Sunday.

It rapidly grew to 60 metres on Monday and around 80 metres on Tuesday, the authorities said, coming perilously close to the house of the Sanchez family, who fear they will be left homeless.

"We have nothing. We're not from here. We have no relatives. We're alone," Heriberto Sanchez, originally from the southeastern state of Veracruz, told the media.

Scientists and the authorities were considering hypotheses including a geological fault or variations in the soil's water content as the possible causes.

Crowds line a fence to witness the enormous sinkhole in Puebla, Mexico.
After this photo was taken on May 30, the sinkhole grew and is now touching the fence line of the property. Source: AFP

As the sinkhole has grown, large chunks of earth have continually broken away from the rim, scaring off onlookers approaching a security cordon set up by the authorities.

In a video posted on social media, two men were seen approaching the hole shortly before it expanded suddenly, forcing them to run to safety.

"It will grow until nature decides, when the water stops exerting pressure," Puebla state governor Miguel Barbosa said.

"The important thing now is public safety," he said, adding that the authorities would compensate those affected.

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