Massive sinkholes swallow cars in Italy, Bolivia

No-one was injured in the collapse but families in nearby buildings were evacuated.

No-one was injured in the collapse but families in nearby buildings were evacuated. Photo: AAP

Prosecutors have opened an investigation into a 10-metre-wide sinkhole that swallowed up to six cars on a residential street in Rome.

No one was injured in the collapse in the Balduina neighbourhood, but families in nearby buildings were evacuated on Wednesday as a precaution.

Local media reported that as of Thursday, 22 families were still unable to return to their homes which had been rendered inaccessible by the giant chasm.

Rome sinkhole

Cars are towed away after a sinkhole opened up in Rome. Photo: AAP

Pictures showed several vehicles upturned and laying on their sides at the bottom of the nine-metre-deep hole.

Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi visited the site and stressed that the sinkhole, which appeared to shave off the entire side of the road, occurred at an active construction site and that the situation was under control.

The ANSA news agency says prosecutors are investigating a property owner and the construction company responsible for work along the road.

Rome sinkhole

The gigantic ground collapse happened about 5.30pm local time in Rome. Photo: AAP

Meanwhile, two women have narrowly escaped death after their car plunged into an enormous sinkhole in Santa Cruz, Bolivia’s largest city.

The incident happened early in the morning on a major thoroughfare as the asphalt suddenly gave way beneath the passing vehicle.

Firefighters pulled the two women, aged 47 and 49, from their car and they were taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

A leaking water main undetectable from the surface weakened the ground beneath the street, municipal Public Works Secretary Freddy Arauco told reporters.

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