VLADIVOSTOK, October 8. /TASS. A sinkhole in a private household in the Russian Far Eastern city of Artyom that buried its owner in early September has turned out to be deeper than expected, with rescuers failing to reach the bottom after passing a depth of 17 meters, a spokesman for the Primorsky (Maritime) Territory department of the Russian Emergencies Ministry told TASS on Thursday.
The owner of the household was reported missing in early September. Rescuers found a sinkhole 1.5 meters wide and 15 meters deep near the house. The rescue effort was stopped due to a risk of collapse. The hole however grew wide reaching 3.5 metres in diameter.
So far, it is impossible to say how deep the hole is, since it is filled with mud and water. "Rescuers who are reinforcing the walls of the hole have reach a depth of 17 meters. Works are continued to pump water out of the hole. The missing man has not yet been found," the spokesman said.
According to rescuers, the hole emerged from a mudslide over a coal pit abandoned some 17 years ago.
Artyom with its population of more than 100,000 is a residential suburb of the city of Vladivostok. Until 1990s, it was a center of the coal mining industry. Since then, residential housing has been built over abandoned mines.