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Holiday homes vanish down sinkhole

A holiday apartment building in Florida is collapsing into a sinkhole that opened up under the building.

About a third of the three-storey structure at the Summer Bay Resort has already disappeared but it had been evacuated and no injuries were reported.

Lake County Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Tony Cuellar said they were also concerned about another section of the villa, which was sinking.

The sinkhole, which is in the middle of the villa, is about 50 feet across. Authorities think it is getting deeper but can not yet tell if it is growing outwards.

The building houses 24 units and about 20 people were staying in it at the time about 10 miles west of Disney World.

Witnesses said they could hear a cracking sound as it began sinking. A large crack was visible at the building's base.

Florida has a problem with sinkholes, which cause millions of pounds in damage annually. On March 1, a sinkhole underneath a house swallowed a man who was in his bed. His body was never recovered.

But such fatalities and injuries are rare, and most sinkholes are small. Sinkholes can develop quickly or slowly over time.

The state sits on limestone, a porous rock that easily dissolves in water, with a layer of clay on top. The clay is thicker in some locations, making them even more prone to sinkholes.

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From Belfast Telegraph