A giant sinkhole has opened up in Mexico and continues to grow, threatening to swallow a nearby house.
The 60ft deep and 300ft wide hole in Santa María Zacatepec, Puebla state, is rapidly expanding close to a large farmhouse.
When it was first spotted last weekend, the hole measured just 15ft in diameter. A family living nearby noticed it had begun to grow suddenly after hearing a loud thud.
“It is a matter of enormous risk,” the state governor Miguel Barbosa Huerta said at a press conference this week.
He added: “People have been evacuated from the house that is now teetering at the rim of the sinkhole, and locals have been asked by the authorities to stay away from the area.”
The family living in the nearby house said they now face the prospect of losing everything.
“At 6 o’clock we heard thunder and we did not think this was it, and then my in-laws realized it. When I got closer, I saw that the earth sank and how the water was bubbling and I panicked,” Magdalena Sánchez told AP.
“We have nothing. We’re not from here. We have no relatives. We’re alone,” added Heriberto Sánchez, who is from the state of Veracruz.
Beatriz Manrique, environmental secretary for the Mexico region, said the reason for the sinkhole could be because of softening of the soil over time or due to the extraction of groundwater.
“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,” she said.
Locals believe the farmland was situated over what used to be a large pond, known locally as a jaguey.
Sinkholes are more commonly seen after powerful seismic activity, occurring when the ground becomes too weak to support the land above it.
The governor promised the public that the government was aware of the situation and that so far no one had been harmed.