A huge sinkhole nearly 10m (32 feet) in diameter opened up at a bus stop in Xining, north west China and swallowed a bus and a number of pedestrians, at 5.30pm on Monday.
At least six people have been killed. Several people are missing. Sixteen were taken to hospital.The sinkhole opened outside a hospital in the capital of Qinghai province, on a busy main street. An explosion occurred inside the sinkhole shortly after the bus and bystanders fell inside, sending a ball of fire. A water pipe broke, and water poured in. A number of people gather to try to rescue the bus passengers, but are engulfed by the sinkhole as it suddenly widens. Government officials estimated that the sinkhole covers an area of about 80 square meters (860 square feet).
The cause of the accident was under investigation. Sinkholes are not uncommon in China and are often blamed on construction works. In 2013 five people died when a 10-metre-wide sinkhole opened up at the gates of an industrial estate in Shenzhen. Sinkholes typically form when acidic rainwater dissolves limestone or similar rock beneath the soil, leaving a large void that collapses when it's no longer able to support the weight of what's above.