Six killed as giant sinkhole swallows bus in China

14 January 2020, 11:08 | Updated: 14 January 2020, 11:39

Chinese rescuers watching as a car is lifted out after a road collapse in Xining in China's northwestern Qinghai province.
Chinese rescuers watching as a car is lifted out after a road collapse in Xining in China's northwestern Qinghai province. Picture: Getty
Sylvia De Luca

By Sylvia De Luca

At least six people have died and 16 others have been injured after a massive sinkhole swallowed up a bus which was picking up passengers in northwestern China.

The bus had stopped outside a hospital in Xining on the Tibetan Plateau on Monday evening when a gaping sinkhole suddenly opened up underneath it.

CCTV footage showed the bus being swallowed up by the ground as terrified passers-by ran for their lives.

It is unclear how many passengers were on board the bus - but six bodies were found and 16 people are being treated in hospital, the Xining municipal government said at a news conference on Tuesday morning.

Some 1,000 emergency workers and 30 vehicles were sent to the site after the incident also triggered an explosion inside the hole.

Workers could be seen using diggers, dump trucks and other equipment excavated earth around the collapse site.

CNN reports that a man could be seen picking up a baby from the edge of the sinkhole and bringing it to safety.

Search and rescue operations are still under way and it is thought that four people may still be missing.

Fifteen people were injured while another ten are still missing
Sixteen people were injured while another ten are still missing. Picture: Getty
A bus is lifted out after a road collapse in Xining in China's northwestern Qinghai province
A bus is lifted out after a road collapse in Xining in China's northwestern Qinghai province. Picture: Getty

According to state media, the sinkhole stretched nearly 10m (32 feet) in diameter and an investigation into the cause of the incident has begun.

It is not the first time a sinkhole has led to fatalities in China.

In 2013, five people were killed in a similar incident at an industrial estate in the southern city of Shenzhen. In 2016 at least three people fell into a huge sinkhole in central Henan province.

Then in 2018, four people were killed after a sinkhole opened up on a busy pavement in the city of Dazhou, south-west China

The sinkholes have often been blamed on construction works and the China’s rapid pace of development.

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