Huge landslip swallows cars and destabilises street in Rome

A gigantic 30ft sinkhole has opened up in a Roman neighbourhood, forcing families to flee their homes and swallowing no fewer than six cars in its gaping maw.

The massive collapse happened at around 5:30pm in the city's Baldunia neighbourhood. Nobody was injured, officials say, but 20 households were evacuated to hotels as a precaution against any further collapse.

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The cars involved, including a Hyundai Tucson, a Peugeot 107 and a quintessentially Italian Fiat 500, will likely be writeoffs after plunging into the deep cavern of a neighbouring building site, which was being redeveloped for housing.

The cause of the collapse is not yet known, but workers carried out repairs after a large water spill between January 25 and 28. Sinkholes usually form when soluble rock underneath roads is eroded away, leaving just a thin crust of tarmac to support itself.

It is possible the water spill eroded the ground underneath the road, causing the collapse.

RomaToday reported that two fire crews attended the incident.

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