A woman was swallowed by a sinkhole in the city of Shenzhen in Guangdong Province, China, earlier this week. The unnamed woman had been shopping with her family and was returning with her goods laden on a bicycle, which she was pushing, when the ground collapsed beneath her. She was able to avoid sinking to far by standing on a metal pipe that crossed the hole, but was prevented from escaping by the bicycle, when fell on top of her, trapping her in position. Her family were able to rescue her with the help of passing motorists that they flagged down, by removing the bicycle and lowering a metal pole into the hole to help her climb out. The woman, who was soaked and covered in mud, was given fresh cloths by a delivery driver who had stopped at the scene, and taken to a local hospital where she was treated for injuries to her head and hands.
Sinkhole in Shenzhen, China, that swallowed a woman earlier this week. South China Morning Post.
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.
On this occasion an investigation found that the hole had been caused by a burst water pipe, which had washed away soft sediments beneath the ground surface, creating a void into which the pavement collapsed when the woman stepped onto it.
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