Sinkhole car owner: I'm thankful me or my family wasn't inside


Sinkhole (Joe Nerssessian/PA)

The owner of a car swallowed up by a sinkhole said he is "thankful" his family were not hurt in the incident.

The blue seven-seater Vauxhall Zafira fell into the large crater which opened up in Greenwich, south London, in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Ghazi Hassan said: "In life you have good days and bad days. This morning wasn't a good day. But I'm thankful me or my family wasn't in the car."

He added: "I've told the insurance. They are coming to pick it up and repair it, so that's the positive side, and that no-one was injured."

Residents in the leafy street said they heard a "sound like thunder" at about 4am when a large hole opened up in the ground outside.

The family car is wedged in the hole, where it is resting on a utilities pipe which has prevented it from falling all the way in.

But how did it happen?

Snappa graphic on how sinkholes occur

Cleo O'Kane, 25, who lives opposite the sinkhole - which is about three metres wide and appears to be several metres deep - said police told her some residents might have to be evacuated.

She said: "I thought it was thunder - I heard a loud bang but it was raining so much I thought it was thunder.

"It must have been around 4am. I woke up and then just went back to sleep - my window was open - then woke up at six this morning, came outside and there was a car in a hole.

"I've been here for eight years and have never seen anything like this happen."

Sinkhole (Joe Nerssessian/PA)

The car was parked on the road outside Benefice of Charlton St Thomas' Church.

Reverend Erica Wooff, the rector of Charlton, who lives next door to the church, said her initial reaction was "Oh my goodness, there's a hole in the road".

"There was a massive storm last night. It has been raining constantly for the past two days but I didn't hear tarmac rip open," she said.

"I've been here for eight years, I've never seen anything like this."

Sinkhole (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Rev Wooff confirmed the church was closed and she was working with the community and authorities.

The Metropolitan Police said they were called to the street at 3.23am on Thursday and discovered the car partially in the hole.

A police spokesman said no-one had been injured in the incident.

A Royal Borough of Greenwich spokesman said they are working with Thames Water and Southern Gas Networks (SGN) at the scene.

The road has been cordoned off and buses are being diverted.