• Germany's news in English

Sinkhole swallows car

The Local · 1 Nov 2010, 16:00

Published: 01 Nov 2010 16:00 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The crater, measuring some 40 by 15 metres, appeared in the town of Schmalkalden around 3 am, a police spokesperson said. A nearby resident heard the noise and called police.

The hole is believed to be some 20 metres deep, she added.

No-one was injured in the incident, but another vehicle near the hole is in danger of falling into the hole.

Click here for more photos of the sinkhole.

Nine homes containing some 25 residents were evacuated, and a large contingent of police and fire fighters are still securing the site. During a press conference Monday afternoon, police said they did not know when it would be safe for residents to return.

According to head of the Thuringia mining authority, Hartmut Kießling, the sinkhole happened naturally and authorities are working to find ways to fill it as quickly as possible.

Jan Katzschmann, an official from the state geology service, said that a large underground cavity had likely collapsed, and further slides could be possible in the coming days.

Their main concern is stabilising the area, Thuringia Environment Minister Jürgen Reinholz said, adding that the situation remains delicate because the use of heavy machinery to fill the hole may cause further damage.

Germany is no stranger to dangerous ground shifts resulting from old mines.

A similar event occurred in April 2010 in the neighbouring state of Saxony-Anhalt when a massive section of earth abruptly collapsed outside Bernburg, leaving a 40 metre-deep crater.

Story continues below…

In January 2010 two homes in the town of Tiefenort in Thuringia were evacuated after a landslide opened up a two-metre crater nearby. That town is located near the site of a former calcium salt mine, and there was another landslide about eight years ago in the same area that was filled with concrete.

And in July 2009, three people were killed when their house collapsed into a lake in the Saxony–Anhalt town of Nachterstedt. The area near the town was extensively mined for lignite, or brown coal, during the 19th century, meaning the ground was shot through with hundreds of tunnels.


Related links:

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

12:36 November 1, 2010 by jamano
About a couple of decades ago in the town of Bayreuth, Oberfranken, a large crater opened and sucked in a bus. It was then discovered that underneath the town there is an extremely extensive net of catacombs from ancient time well forgotten.
15:30 November 1, 2010 by William Thirteen
i knew a girl like that...
14:23 November 2, 2010 by adipk
May be we must ask immigrant for this non sense.

Anyway this need a deep research. Why this is happening. So far it was not disaster but it could become a disaster.

Researcher must rush to this focal point.
Today's headlines
Politicians call for tough sentences for 'killer clowns'
File photo: DPA.

Now that the so-called 'killer clown' craze has spread from the US to Germany, elected officials are drawing a hard line against such "pranks", with some threatening offenders with jail time of up to a year.

Nearly one in ten Germans are severely disabled
Photo: DPA

New figures reveal that 9.3 percent of the German population last year were considered severely disabled.

The Local List
Germany's top 10 most surreal sites to visit
The Upside-Down House, in Mecklenburg–Western Pomerania. Photo: Olaf Meister / Wikimedia Commons

From upside-down houses on Baltic islands to a fairy-tale castle near the Austrian border, Germany is a treasure trove of the extraordinary.

Bavarian critics back Merkel for Chancellor again
Photo: DPA

The Christian Social Union (CSU) have long delayed backing Angela Merkel as their candidate for Chancellor in next year's general election. But now key leaders are supporting her publicly.

Four taken to hospital after hotel toilet bursts into flames
File photo: DPA.

Four guests at a Nuremberg hotel were taken to hospital due to smoke inhalation early Monday morning after a toilet there burst into flames.

Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German towns, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd