Massive crater opens up in German town

Associated Press
In this aerial photo, a giant landslide under a residential street is seen in Schmalkalden, central Germany, Monday, Nov. 1, 2010. The cause of the landslide is yet unclear unclear. Residents were evacuated from 23 buildings. Nobody was injured. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)
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A crater some 65 feet (20 meters) deep has opened up in a residential area of an eastern German town — swallowing a car and a garage door but causing no injuries.

Emergency services were called to the scene in Schmalkalden at about 3 a.m. (0200 GMT) on Monday by a resident who reported hearing unusual noises. Six houses and 25 people were evacuated.

Lutz Katschmann of Thuringia state's environment and geology office said it wasn't immediately clear why the ground gave way, the German news agency DAPD reported. The crater measures 98 feet by 98 feet (30 meters by 30 meters).

Katschmann said it was possible that rock formations underground broke up, creating a cavity.

Authorities plan to fill the hole with gravel.

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