LA PAZ – Two women narrowly escaped death Thursday 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, ages 47 and 49, from the car and they were taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
The women suffered skull, rib and ankle fractures, hospital physician Gustavo Santa Cruz told Unitel television.
A leaking water main undetectable from the surface weakened the ground beneath the street, municipal Public Works Secretary Freddy Arauco told reporters.
He said that work to find and repair other leaks would have to wait until the end of the rainy season, as digging up pipes under current conditions would lead to more sinkholes.
Arauco said that Saguapac, the water and sewer company serving the city, would assume all of the costs derived from the incident and that the sinkhole would be repaired within a week.
Santa Cruz, home to nearly 1.5 million residents, is Bolivia’s business and financial capital.