By Elizabeth Leafloor | Red Ice Creations
Residents of the Brazilian town of Abaetetuba survived disaster when a busy neighbourhood was suddenly sucked into the earth by a massive sinkhole.
Incredibly, nobody was hurt as the houses collapsed into the sinkhole caused by water erosion. Residents became aware of the danger as electrical wires overhead started snapping and falling as the ground shifted.
In the following CCTV video of the incident, you can see the locals rushing to evacuate, and in the top right reportedly a pregnant woman throws her child out a window to safety, and then scrambles down a ladder just before her house disintegrates.
Many residents lost everything, with houses, offices, and a supermarket tumbling into the void.
The area affected by the erosion borders the Maracatuíra river, which runs through the town.
According to environmental experts who have been inspecting the area, the construction of houses close to the river and the uncontrolled growth of the neighbourhood are at the root of the problem, and are the main cause of the tragedy.
Environmentalists warn that the removal of vegetation from the an area close to the banks of a river to make way for development affects the soils rate of absorption.
Water that would have previously infiltrated tree and plant roots is no longer absorbed naturally and with nowhere to go soaks into and begins to erode the earth.
In the days leading up to the disaster, river levels had risen to a dangerous high.
By Elizabeth Leafloor, Red Ice Creations
READ: Incredible Sinkholes Around the World