21 Dec 2008

Sinkhole opens in village

8:07 am on 21 December 2008

A sinkhole has opened in a village in southern China forcing 381 people to evacuate the area and causing a building to collapse. Up to 72 other buildings are threatened.

Xinhua news agency reported the cave-in on Friday afternoon left a three-metre-wide hole in the ground in the southern city of Guangzhou.

A total of 5,000 square metres of land in Xiamao village are affected.

The report said an initial investigation has found the sinkage was caused by pilings being driven into the earth for a real estate project, which weakened a subterranean limestone cave.

No casualties have been reported.

Xinhua said a total of 381 people were evacuated. One building collapsed, 11 were "cracked", and 61 others were being monitored for possible safety problems.