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article imageGiant sinkhole engulfs three houses in Russia (video)

By Anne Sewell     Apr 11, 2013 in Environment
Three houses in Buturlino, outside the city of Nizhny Novgorod, in Russia were swallowed by a huge sinkhole while residents were sleeping on Wednesday.

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The sinkhole measured nearly 85 meters wide and 15 meters deep, and one of the houses in the town of Buturlino was completely demolished.
Luckily residents managed to escape the house minutes before it collapsed into the sinkhole and the third building was used merely for grain storage.
One resident said he heard a rumbling noise and then saw a tree outside his window just disappear. Aleksey Ionychev told Russia’s Channel One, “I just barely left the house as everything around started to collapse.”
“I looked and saw a poplar, 15 to 20 meters high, went under the ground and straight away I heard loud sounds of water running, like a waterfall, and then saw a 10 meters crater,” he said. “It’s good that we are alive, but the house was new and everything we had, so to say, we lost. The house was not insured and of course no one cares about it,” he added.
Initially reports had said that people were injured in the incident, but it was later confirmed that no one sustained severe harm.
“Information about dead and injured that appeared in media is not true,” the head of the local administration Nikolay Chichkov told Rossyiskaya Gazeta.
Chichkov said that the sinkhole also caused ruptures in electricity and gas utility lines but by the afternoon, gas utilities and power had been restored. However, the sinkhole remains cordoned off by emergency services.
Engineers believe groundwater washed away the soil underneath the houses. Yahoo News is speculating that the water levels may have risen due to snow melting near the scene.
Thirty-three residents of nearby areas have been immediately evacuated for safety.
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