Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Six killed as car falls into sinkhole in Crimean region of Ukaine.

Six people, including five members of one family, have died after a sinkhole opened up in front of a car on a main road near the Crimean city of Simferpol, on the evening of Saturday 27 September 2014. The dead have been named as Ibrail Eskandarov (34), his wife Eskandarova (33) and children Alite (16), and twins Asan and Muslim (3). A family friend, Salimova Asiye (37) who was travelling in the same car was also killed, while her children, Levida (12) and Serim (1) are being treated in the intensive care unit of a local hospital. The sinkhole has been described as eight meters wide and six meters deep, and apparently opened up abruptly in front of the car, giving the driver no time to avoid falling into the hole. Power cables running beneath the road were also severed, hampering rescue attempts due to lack of light.

The remains of a car in the bottom of a sinkhole that opened up on the Nikolayev to Yevpatoria highway near Simferpol on Saturday 27 September 2014. Reuters.

Sinkholes are generally caused by water eroding soft limestone or unconsolidated deposits from beneath, causing a hole that works its way upwards and eventually opening spectacularly at the surface. Where there are unconsolidated deposits at the surface they can infill from the sides, apparently swallowing objects at the surface, including people, without trace.

The area around Simferpol is located on soft limestone, with many extensive cave networks, and has suffered sinkhole related problems in the past, though the cause of this particular incident is still being investigated.

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