Wednesday, 20. August 2014
09. 05. 14. - 16:00
This is the incredible shrinking petrol station.....lost to the world because of construction work nearby.
Building site workers weakened the ground around the filling station in Hangzhou city in Zhejiang province, China causing it to sink into the ground.
Pump attendant Tao Ku, 25, was on duty when the earth began to shift and the 50,000 ton steel and concrete station began to be consumed by the earth.
He said: "I was filling up the tank of a Lexus when I suddenly felt this ominous shaking and juddering, just as if there was an earthquake. Suddenly the pump motor cut out and I looked up to see a gigantic crack appear down the front of the building.
"Then the lights began to flicker and there was a perceptible tilt to the forecourt. 'Get away, get away, we are sinking!' shouted my boss. I told the Lexus driver to beat it and I ran for my life.
"There has been so much construction in this area the place underground is riddled like a honeycomb. One set of workers in one building has no clue what their counterparts just yards away are doing. They dig ancillary road and sewage tunnels, tunnels for electric cabling and pipes, caverns for underground car parks and then they wonder why buildings above don't stay put!"
China's frenetic push for urbanisation and ever-more buildings has created man-made disasters like the sinking petrol station across the country. Disturbed water tables have made deserts out of once fertile areas and the human cost - both for workers toiling away on unsafe construction sites and for residents living near them - has been enormous.
"We are launching an investigation into what made the petrol station disappear into the bowels of the earth," said a town planning spokesman.
All the petrol had to be pumped out into tankers and moved to giant tanks ten miles away before the wrecking ball arrived to demolish what remained of the submerged filling station.
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