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'Not a good day' for owner of car swallowed by sinkhole - but no-one hurt

Published 12/05/2016

A car which has partially disappeared down a sinkhole in Woodland Terrace in Greenwich, south-east London (Metropolitan Police/Twitter/PA)
A car which has partially disappeared down a sinkhole in Woodland Terrace in Greenwich, south-east London (Metropolitan Police/Twitter/PA)

The owner of a car swallowed up by a sinkhole said he is "thankful" his family were not hurt in the incident.

The blue seven-seater Vauxhall Zafira fell into the large crater which opened up in Greenwich, south London, in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Ghazi Hassan told the Press Association: "In life you have good days and bad days. This morning wasn't a good day.

"But I'm thankful me or my family wasn't in the car."

He added: "I've told the insurance. They are coming to pick it up and repair it so that's the positive side, and that no-one was injured."

Residents in the leafy street said they heard a "sound like thunder" at around 4am when a large hole opened up in the ground outside.

The family car is wedged in the hole, where it is resting on a utilities pipe which has prevented it from falling all the way in.

Police have warned locals they may have to be evacuated.

Mr Hassan's brother, Abdul Ahmadzai, said: "I woke up very surprised. The police were here about 4am so I came outside and saw the car - they said it was in a hole. I thought 'There's nothing I can do' and went back to sleep.

"I just woke up again now."

His brother had owned the estate car for three or four years, he added.

Cleo O'Kane, 25, who lives opposite the sinkhole - which is around three metres wide and appears to be several metres deep - said police told her some residents might have to be evacuated.

She said: "I thought it was thunder - I heard a loud bang, but it was raining so much I thought it was thunder.

"It must have been around 4am. I woke up and then just went back to sleep - my window was open - then woke up at six this morning, came outside and there was a car in a hole.

"I've been here for eight years and have never seen anything like this happen."

She added: "Police said they don't know what's going on. They said the car is stuck on a gas pipe or a water pipe. They might have to evacuate all the houses.

"All the car is resting on apparently is a pipe, otherwise it would have disappeared."

The car was parked on the road outside Benefice of Charlton St Thomas' Church.

Reverend Erica Wooff, the rector of Charlton, who lives next door to the church, said her initial reaction was "Oh my goodness, there's a hole in the road".

"There was a massive storm last night. It has been raining constantly for the past two days but I didn't hear tarmac rip open," she said.

"I've been here for eight years, I've never seen anything like this."

Rev Wooff confirmed the church was closed and that she was working with the community and authorities.

The Metropolitan Police said they were called to the street at 3.23am on Thursday and discovered the car partially in the hole.

A police spokesman said no-one had been injured in the incident.

A Royal Borough of Greenwich spokesman said they are working with Thames Water and Southern Gas Networks (SGN) at the scene.

The road has been cordoned off and buses are being diverted.

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From Belfast Telegraph