I guess this is the first time that a storm has blown down a 200ft hole swallowing a building. At least one man was killed and others are missing after a three-storey building fell into a 200ft-deep sink hole in Guatemala City.
Tropical storm Agatha, the first named storm of the 2010 Pacific season, slammed into Guatemala and neighbouring El Salvador at the weekend, dumping more than three feet of rain in the region.
The enormous crater appeared while the city was being ravaged with high winds, torrential rain and deadly mudslides. Witnesses claim at least one man was in the three-storey building when it was swallowed up at a downtown intersection, and others remain missing.
Agatha has killed at least 146 people across Central America, and has sparked fears for the economies of Guatemala and El Salvador – as there has been widespread damage to the coffee crop in both countries.
‘I’ve got no one to help me. I watched the water take everything,’ said Carlota Ramos in the town of Amatitlan near the Guatemalan capital, crying into her hands outside her brick house almost completely swamped by mud.
As the sun came out, exhausted rescue workers hauled away stones and tree trunks from crushed houses as they fought to reach wounded people and find dozens still missing.
‘We just have shovels and picks. We don’t have any machinery to dig,’ said firefighter Mario Cruz, who had been working almost nonstop since Friday night.