A sinkhole measuring nearly 85 meters wide and 15 meters deep engulfed three houses in a town outside Russia’s fifth-largest city Nizhny Novgorod as some residents of the small village were slumbering.
One of the houses in the town of Buturlino was completely
demolshed. Residents managed to escape the building a few minutes
before it literally collapsed like a house of cards on Wednesday
“I just barely left the house as everything around started to
collapse,” Aleksey Ionychev told Russia’s Channel One.
“I looked and saw a poplar, 15 to 20 meters high, went under
the ground and straight away I heard loud sounds of water running,
like a waterfall, and then saw a 10 meters crater,” the man
said. “It’s good that we are alive, but the house was new and
everything we had, so to say, we lost. The house was not insured
and of course no one cares about it.”
Initial reports suggested people were injured in the incident. However, it was later confirmed that no one sustained traumatic harm. “Information about dead and injured that appeared in media is not true,” the head of the local administration Nikolay Chichkov told Rossyiskaya Gazeta.
Thirty-three residents of nearby areas have been immediately
evacuated. There were no people in one of the collapsed buildings,
while the third damaged building was used for grain
The Ionychev family reportedly moved to their relatives’ house,
along with other residents.
According to Chichkov, the sinkhole not only demolished the
three buildings, but also caused ruptures in electricity and gas
utility lines. By the afternoon, gas utilities and power had been
restored. The sinkhole remains cordoned off by emergency
The reasons behind the accident have not been made public so
far. “There is a version that the sinkhole was caused by
subterranean waters, which rose due to snow melting,” the regional
head wrote on his blog.
Some experts also pointed to a railroad some 90 meters away from
the place of the accident. However, trains are still passing
the scene, though they have been forced to slow down to 60 kph.
The town of Buturlino, with a population of 6,500, is some 120
kilometers southeast of the city of Nizhniy Novgorod in central
Russia. According to the 2010 census, Nizhniy Novgorod is home to
over 1,250,000 people.