15 Photos of China's Sinkhole Epidemic That Will Terrify You

By Ned Kelly, November 13, 2018

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From illegal digging on construction sites, to erosion from collapsed water pipes, to the rural rumblings of abandoned mines - the earth seems to be opening up and swallowing itself here in China. Here are just some of the sinkholes that have appeared over the years…

August 2009: A road suddenly sank in Hefei, Anhui Province, causing one taxi and three motorbikes to fall into the hole.

November 2010: A giant crater opened up in a family home in Guilin, Guangxi Province. The pit formed at around 2.30am when the members of the family were all in bed. “We heard a loud cracking sound and the ground was shaking,” said homeowner Zeng Pengqi. “We thought it was an earthquake.” The family raced outside but was bewildered to find that no other homes were shaking; venturing back inside, they discovered that a huge 2-meter-deep pit had mysteriously opened up in one of the downstairs rooms.

August 2012: A firefighter is lowered down into a 10-meter-deep pit that suddenly opened up on a road in Harbin, Heilongjiang Province. Two people were killed and two others injured…

… One of the injured was a 14-month-old baby girl, who was rescued from the pit by a firefighter.

April 2011: Rescuers work at the site of a road cave-in in the Fengtai District of Beijing. A truck was trapped in the pit but the driver was rescued.

January 2011: A huge 20-meter-wide sinkhole formed overnight in the yard of a family home in Leshan, Sichuan Province. Zhang Fengrong said he heard a loud roaring sound coming from outside. When he went to investigate, he was stunned to discover the huge pit. According to Zhang, he and several relatives had tried to measure the depth of the pit using a rope attached to a heavy iron, but after they used up the 40-meter-long rope the iron still hadn't hit ground.

August 2010: A hole suddenly opened up in a road in Taiyuan, Shanxi Province, causing the collapse of part of the nearby People's Hospital an hour later. Miraculously, no casualties were reported.

January 2013: People look at a caved-in area of a paddy field in Fukou County, Hunan Province. More than 20 pits have formed in the area during the past few months. The government's initial investigation showed years of mining have destroyed the local underground water systems.

January 2013: Rescuers look for survivors after a building collapsed into a large hole in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province. The demolition was caused by the construction of a metro line and left a 9-meter-deep hole in the ground.

July 2012: This huge sinkhole suddenly appeared on a main road in Changsha, Hunan Province, at around 1am and swallowing up a car. One person was killed and a further three injured.

May 2011: An overloaded lorry crashed through the middle of a bridge in Changchun, Jilin Province.

March 2013: People stand beside an enormous hole in the ground in Guangyuan, Sichuan Province. The hole measured 24.9 meters in diameter, with residents fearing the pit will continue to grow until it starts swallowing nearby houses.

August 2012: A taxi is lifted out of a 3-meter-deep sinkhole that suddenly opened up in Handan, Hebei Province.

August 2012: A tanker truck driver had a shock while driving along a road in Harbin, Heilongjiang Province, as a sinkhole suddenly opened up. The back half of the truck was engulfed by the hole, while the rest of the truck was left lying on its side on the road.

June 2012: A sinkhole engulfed a minibus in Guilin, south China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, injuring the vehicle's driver. The incident happened around 4 a.m. in the city's Qixing district. It left a big hole which was 4 meters long, 2.5 meters wide and 2 meters deep. The driver, the only person in the minibus, was  treated in hospital.

December 2013: A cave-in took place in the city of Guangyuan in Sichuan province in the wee hours. It destroyed rooms in two villagers' homes, but no casualties were reported.

For more sinkhole scariness, click here.

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