A huge 60-metre-wide sinkhole that seemingly appeared out of nowhere in a farmer’s field in central Mexico, has swallowed up two dogs.
The poor animals had reportedly been trapped for around four days, on a ledge located on the sheer sides of the sinkhole, a 50ft (15m) drop to water below them.
Spay and Spike had apparently been playing in the farm field where the sinkhole emerged when they fell into its depths, AP News reports.
For days, it was considered too dangerous to attempt a rescue due to loose soil at the edges of the hole continuing to collapse into the water below.
However, on Thursday, June 10, a firefighter made the descent into the pit, partly by using a ladder to keep the soil on the edges steady. Some of his colleagues were seen standing back from the pit, using ropes and a pulley system to pull up cages containing the two animals.
Photos of Spay and Spike, who are now being cared for by veterinarians, have since been distributed by the state government. The images show the dogs looking alert and well after their ordeal.
A farmer in Santa María Zacatepec, Puebla state, first discovered the a huge hole in the land, which, according to state governor Miguel Barbosa Huerta, initially measured 60m in diameter.
The hole, which seemingly came from nowhere, has led to concerns about a nearby house. As a result, the family which owns the property has been evacuated as a safety measure. There have also been warnings that the public should stay away from the giant sinkhole amid safety concerns.
Fortunately, this sudden change in the agricultural landscape has not hurt anyone. However, it has impacted those who have been evacuated.
The owners of the threatened home, Magdalena and Heriberto Sánchez, explained what happened, The Independent reports.
Ms Sanchez said:
At 6 o’clock we heard thunder and we did not think this was it, and then my in-laws realised it. When I got closer, I saw that the earth sank and how the water was bubbling and I panicked.
While Mr Sanchez told the AFP news agency what impact it will have on them: ‘We have nothing. We’re not from here. We have no relatives. We’re alone.’ He added that the situation was upsetting because the home had taken a ‘lot of effort, sacrifice’.
A study into exactly what happened will now begin. Officials from public bodies including the national water commission will analyse the sinkhole to determine its cause and possible reoccurrence. They will do this by studying the soil and structure of the newly-formed hole.
At the moment, the sinkhole can be seen with moving water at the bottom, which would support a theory that it developed conventionally. Beatriz Manrique, environmental secretary for the Mexico region, has already hypothesised what may have been the cause.
We think that it might be a combination of two factors: the softening of the field, the whole area was being cultivated, as well as the extraction of groundwater, which softens the subsoil.
Typically, flowing underground water that softens the earth above and makes it unstable is the cause of a sinkhole, and this theory would align with reports from locals.
People from the area told the TV station Azteca, ‘A long time ago there was a jagüey there, but we don’t know why they covered it, but we think that the water struggled to regain its space and that is why it appeared.’
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