Massive Sinkhole Devours Half a City Bus During Morning Commute in Downtown Pittsburgh

Residents in Pittsburgh had a rough start to their workweek when a massive sinkhole opened up and swallowed half of a city bus, resulting in a partial closure of a busy downtown street.

According to the Pittsburgh Port Authority, a city bus was stopped at a red light on Monday morning when the street beneath it gave way and devoured its rear end, sending the vehicle’s front half feet into the air. The rear of the bus is the heaviest part of the vehicle, the agency added, since that is where its engine is located.

Photographs posted to social media by Pittsburgh Public Safety show a blue Kia Optima with its two front tires hanging over the hole, with its driver seemingly escaping serious injury by inches. In a follow-up tweet, officials said the sedan was safely removed from the scene after crews arrived.

At the time of the accident, only the driver and a single passenger were aboard the bus. The passenger experienced minor injuries and was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment, officials said.

“Two people on ⁦@PGHtransit bus, one transported to hospital [with] minor injuries,” read a tweet from Pittsburgh Public Safety on Monday. “Kids at Small World child care evacuated to Westin, and are happy and safe. Public safety evaluating situation. More updates to come.”

The Pittsburgh bus and a Kia Optima

According to KDKA, the sinkhole impacted the morning rush hour and is expected to cause delays for Monday night’s Pittsburgh Steelers game at Heinz Field.

According to the Department of Environmental Protection, many factors can lead to the formation of a sinkhole, but a large portion of them are created due to water that has nowhere to drain. Once the liquid accumulates underground, it erodes rock and minerals.

“As more soil washes down (over years or maybe just days), the void space moves toward the surface until it can’t hold together anymore,” the department’s website explains.

This creates a hole that can eventually grow large enough that the ground above it collapses — resulting in a sinkhole.

“When it collapses (or subsides), you see the sinkhole on the surface,” they added. “Often, you can only see soil in the hole and not the actual hole in the rock itself because the rock is too far below.”

Two cranes were en route to the area to hoist the large bus from the opening, Pittsburgh Public Safety tweeted Monday morning, but because the vehicle landed on power lines, the city will have to temporarily cut power in the area during its removal.

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