The sinkhole forced the temporary closure of a nearby residence for recovering COVID-19 patients

By Georgia Slater
January 08, 2021 12:22 PM
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Credit: CIRO FUSCO/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

A massive sinkhole opened in the parking lot of an Italian hospital on Friday, consuming multiple cars and forcing the temporary closure of a nearby residence for patients recovering from coronavirus.

The 66-foot-deep, 21,527-square-foot sinkhole opened at dawn in the visitors' parking lot at the Hospital of the Sea in Naples, the local hospital district told the Associated Press.

The hole swallowed three vehicles, as the parking lot was mostly empty at the time of the incident. No other injuries have been reported.

While operations at the hospital were not affected due to backup systems, the nearby residence that was housing recovering COVID-19 patients was reportedly forced to close because of interruptions to electricity and water systems.

"Frankly, we were also worried about the collapse of all utilities and that the activity of the hospital could be jeopardized,” Regional Gov. Vincenzo De Luca told the AP. "Thank God, this did not happen. We had a power break, but electricity was restored and now we don’t have any problem in providing care."

Credit: CIRO FUSCO/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

The six patients who were recovering at the residence have since been relocated.

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Chief firefighter Cmdr. Ennio Aquilino told Italian TV station SkyTG 24 that the sinkhole's cause may have been an infiltration of water underground following heavy rain.

According to De Luca, the residence for recovering patients will reopen as soon as utilities are restored.