Two homes and boat fall victim to expanding US sinkhole as residents flee area

A sinkhole that continues to grow in the US has now swallowed a boat, destroyed two homes and prompted the evacuation of residents from 10 others.

Dramatic video showed the home, north of Tampa in Pasco County, Florida, collapsing into the hole on Friday morning.

Having started the size of a swimming pool, it quickly grew to 200ft (60m) wide and 50ft (15m) deep.

Pasco County Fire Chief Shawn Whited said no one was at the home when crews arrived just after 7.30am.

Someone had called about a "depression" under a boat parked in the backyard of a home in Lake Padgett Estates in Land O'Lakes.

Within minutes, he said, "the hole opened up" and the boat fell in.

Firefighters were able to rescue two dogs and retrieve some belongings before the first home started collapsing into the quickly-expanding hole.

By early afternoon, the home next door was also destroyed by the sinkhole.

No injuries have been reported.

County property records show there had already been a sinkhole at the property where the first house was swallowed, and that it had been "stabilised" in 2012.

The home last sold in 2015, according to records.

Sinkholes are stabilised by boring holes into the ground and injecting concrete

Kevin Guthrie, Pasco County's assistant county administrator for public safety, said 10 other homes in the area have been tagged unsafe and the residents voluntarily left them.

He said firefighters and deputies helped people get some of their belongings out of their homes.

"It was frightening," Mr Guthrie said. "The people coming out of those houses were frightened. Mother Nature is going to take what Mother Nature takes."

Officials say Duke Energy cut power to about 100 homes in the neighbourhood.

The American Red Cross is assisting residents who have been displaced.

PA


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