Friday 28 April 2017

Watch: Massive sinkhole engulfs street and causes gas leak in Canada

Officials do not yet know what caused the sinkhole to form

Workers look at a large sinkhole in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, June 8, 2016
Workers look at a large sinkhole in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, June 8, 2016
Water can be seen in a large sinkhole that formed on Rideau Street next to the Rideau Centre mall in Ottawa on Wednesday, June 8, 2016
Workers look at a large sinkhole in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, June 8, 2016

Matt Payton

A massive sinkhole opened up on a main street in the Canadian capital of Ottawa causing a gas leak and evacuations of nearby businesses and office blocks.

The incident took place on the corner of Rideau Street and Sussex Drive next to a shopping mall and near several important government buildings.

City officials do yet know what caused the sinkhole and refuse to speculate where the nearby construction of the new light rail system.

Mayor Jim Watson told reporters: "It's premature at this point to make the connection to LRT, although that could very well be the possibility.

"If you look back in the last year, there was probably a major sinkhole in every city, at least once a week somewhere in North America or around the world that's on the nightly news, and we're one more."

Nobody was hurt or reported missing as a result of the sinkhole while many witnesses recall the strong smell of gas and the loss of calls.

Witness Tom Herlihy was walking along Rideau street when he heard and smelt the gas leak: "A high-pressure natural gas line escaping is very distinct, it's a high-pressure whistle.

"You could smell it in the area immediately, and people were running away from it, you could tell something was amiss."

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