Giant sinkhole consumes cars in Naples hospital parking lot

A giant sinkhole opened Friday in the parking lot of a hospital in Naples, Italy, forcing the temporary closure of a nearby residence for recovering COVID-19 patients because the electricity was cut.

Operations weren’t affected at the Hospital of the Sea, and firefighters said it didn’t appear anyone was injured. The sinkhole consumed a few cars in the hospital’s otherwise empty visitors’ parking lot.

 Firefighters stand on the border of the large sinkhole that opened overnight in the parking of Ospedale del Mare hospital in Naples, Italy, Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. A giant sinkhole opened Friday in the parking lot of a Naples hospital, forcing the temporary closure of a nearby residence for recovering coronavirus patients because the electricity was cut. (Alessandro Pone/LaPresse via AP)Firefighters stand on the border of the large sinkhole that opened overnight in the parking of Ospedale del Mare hospital in Naples, Italy, Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. A giant sinkhole opened Friday in the parking lot of a Naples hospital, forcing the temporary closure of a nearby residence for recovering coronavirus patients because the electricity was cut. (Alessandro Pone/LaPresse via AP)

The local hospital district said the 20-meter-deep (66 feet), 2,000-square-meter (21,527-square-foot) sinkhole opened at dawn. Chief firefighter Cmdr. Ennio Aquilino told Italian television channel SkyTG 24 the implosion could have been caused by an infiltration of water underground as a result of recent heavy rains.

 A view of the large sinkhole that opened overnight in the parking of Ospedale del Mare hospital in Naples, Italy, Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. (Alessandro Pone/LaPresse via AP)A view of the large sinkhole that opened overnight in the parking of Ospedale del Mare hospital in Naples, Italy, Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. (Alessandro Pone/LaPresse via AP)

News reports quoted the regional governor as saying the COVID-19 residence would reopen within days after electricity and water service were restored. Both were also interrupted at the hospital, but backup systems allowed care to continue.

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