A Montreal man was working on a backhoe on Monday morning when a giant sinkhole opened up in the middle of the road, swallowing him up along with the machinery.
The driver is said to have escaped with minor injuries, but the backhoe is still stuck in the 26'x16' hole due to complications relating to a gas line nearby. Officials say they believe the sinkhole was caused by a leaking sewer pipe in the area.
"We think that the water leak was because of the sewer pipe…it's a broken sewer pipe," said Emilie Miskdjian, a spokesperson for the Ville-Marie borough. "That's what we think, but we will have to do an inspection to determine the cause."
Local resident and shop owner Rahman Esmaili says he advised the city about the leaky pipe more than a week ago, but had trouble getting a response.
"Eight days ago we saw some water coming from the streets and we approached the city and there was no reaction from the city. It was pouring in the wall and coming down in the whole street and it smells and all this nonsense — you cannot imagine," he said.
Officials say they are working hard to make repairs, but there is simply no way to get to everything in a timely manner.
"We can't secure every corner that we have in the city," said city counselor Richard Deschamps.
Although there haven't been reports of them in the area until now, sinkholes aren't a new problem for other parts of the world. Florida, Ohio and New Jersey have been hit hard this year, with multiple reports of large holes opening up under homes and on roads.