Large sinkhole traps family and their vehicle on busy San Francisco street

A large sinkhole opened in a busy San Francisco street and partially swallowed a vehicle, trapping a family inside.

The SUV was traveling on Mission Street on Tuesday afternoon when the road collapsed, witness Von Bellows told KPIX-TV. Bellows filmed the whole ordeal with his cellphone as rescue crews ordered the family and their driver to remain inside for fear the road would continue to open up and swallow them into the 9-foot-deep hole. Police said the family and their driver were not injured.

“The people had to stay inside to make sure the weight didn’t distribute unevenly where the car would fall farther into the hole,” Bellows told the news station.

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Video shows firefighters used ropes to connect the car to parking meters, towing and pulling it out of the 12-foot-long sinkhole.


The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission said a 141-year-old broken sewer line was to blame for the sinkhole.

Commission spokesman Charles Sheehan told reporters at the scene that a 3-by 5-foot main line dates back to 1875.

“Usually with sewers that old, age is likely the cause of the break,” he said.

A portion of the road remained closed through the night, according to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

Crews were expected to start repairs Wednesday morning.

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