Sinkacento: Dozens of cars trapped as chasm opens along Florence riverbank

Dozens of parked cars dropped into a 200m long sinkhole which opened up along Florence’s picturesque Arno River on Wednesday. The vehicles slid into the chasm as a leaking underground pipe washed away part of the river bank. Firefighters moved residents of nearby palazzi away from the area as there was no water or lighting in the area. Hours afterwards, they were trying to determine whether the weakened asphalt could withstand the weight of a crane to extract the waterlogged cars which fell into the hole.

No injuries, but damage - heavy damage. It is a very serious chasm

Florence mayor Dario Nadella

Mayor Dario Nardella stressed that the underground flooding was the result of a gash in a 60cm (2ft) diameter pipe, one of the major water conduits in the neighborhood, and not a leak in the banks of the Arno. Much of the city centre - covering thousands of homes - was reportedly without water. The scene is near the famed Ponte Vecchio bridge, a favorite spot for tourists shopping for jewellery.