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Tuesday 21 February 2017

Cars swallowed by sinkhole near Florence's Ponte Vecchio bridge

Published 25/05/2016 | 12:06

Cars engulfed by a chasm which opened along Florence's Arno river near the Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge) (Ansa/AP)
Cars engulfed by a chasm which opened along Florence's Arno river near the Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge) (Ansa/AP)

An underground water mains break along Florence's picturesque Arno River has created a 200-metre-long sinkhole that buried dozens of parked cars.

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Firefighters asked residents of nearby palazzi to evacuate voluntarily, as there was no water or lighting in the area.

Hours after the pre-dawn break, authorities were trying to determine on Wednesday whether the weakened asphalt could withstand the weight of a crane to extract the waterlogged cars that fell into the hole.

Mayor Dario Nardella stressed that the underground flooding was the result of a gash in a diameter pipe, one of the major water conduits in the neighbourhood, and not a leak in the banks of the Arno.

The scene is near the famed Ponte Vecchio bridge, a favourite spot for tourists shopping for jewellery.

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