After an old underground water pipe burst on Wednesday morning alongside the Arno River in Florence, Italy, a giant sinkhole opened up, swallowing dozens of cars. Luckily, no injuries were reported.
It happened before dawn on Wednesday morning in the heart of historic Florence, close to the iconic Ponte Vecchio bridge. It’s hard to imagine what it would be like to wake up that morning to find your car underwater and buried in a massive sinkhole after parking it on the street the night before.
DTN Australia: Giant sinkhole in Florence swallows dozens of cars: An underground water pipe burst in Florenc… https://t.co/4TtX91vWmy
— DTN Australia (@DTNAustralia) May 25, 2016
As reported by the Washington Post, dozens of cars that were parked along the riverside were suddenly swallowed up as a giant sinkhole, measuring around 650 feet long and 20 feet across, opened up.
Shortly after the water pipe burst, authorities were unsure whether it would be safe to use cranes to lift the water soaked cars out of the huge sinkhole, as the asphalt surrounding it was so weakened by the water leak. However, some hours later authorities posted photos showing some of the vehicles in the process of being removed.
— Comune di Firenze (@comunefi) May 25, 2016
According to the city’s firefighters, the giant sinkhole was formed after an old underground water pipe broke.
While no injuries were reported in the incident, two buildings in the surrounding area were reportedly evacuated as a precaution and the water and power supply in the surrounding areas was cut off. Schools were closed in the area for the day and will reportedly reopen on Thursday.
— The Watchers (@TheWatchers_) May 25, 2016
Florence’s Mayor, Dario Nardella, saying a gash in a two-foot-wide water main had caused the collapse, headed to Twitter to say no one had been injured in the collapse of the Lungarno Torrigiani – the road that runs alongside the Arno River. However, he did warn any residents with cars still parked on that street to move them elsewhere, just in case.
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The iconic Ponte Vecchio bridge is a popular tourist spot in the historic city and is a 14th century bridge that connects the two banks of Florence’s Arno River.
— Megan Specia (@meganspecia) May 25, 2016
As reported in a video post by the New York Times, a spokeswoman for the Florence mayor’s office described the scene after the water pipe burst. Maddalena Messeri said it was “like a heart break.”
“You know, can you imagine like the main road by the river with a big sinkhole filled by the water and twenty cars inside.”
Messeri went on to say that the affected zone is one of the oldest in the city. There are many historic palaces there and the area is very touristic, because it is next to Ponte Vecchio, right in the heart of the city.
She went on to say that authorities believe the incident was caused by a human error, because the pipeline is one of the biggest in the aqueduct system of the city and it had been repaired the night before.
[Photo by Maurizio degl’Innocenti/ANSA via AP]