Two sinkholes have emerged in the aftermath of Storm Ciara – forcing the evacuation of residents in one street in the middle of the night.
A motorist had a lucky escape when their car fell into a huge sinkhole which emerged in Hatch Road, Brentwood, in Essex, on Monday.
Photos from the scene show the black Toyota nose-first in the ground, with the driver and passenger doors wide open and both airbags inflated.
It is understood the vehicle was being driven when the hole – thought to be about two meters (6.5ft) deep – opened up and the driver managed to get out uninjured.
Gordon Humphrey, 69, who lives in the street, said he and his wife heard a “bang”.
“The wife heard it. She thought a fence panel had popped out, then we looked and saw a car in the hole,” he said.
“You could hear the water bubbling, see the tail lights and there was a smell of gas.”
He said that he saw someone, whom he did not believe to be the driver, in the front of the car with water up to the seats.
“He was sitting in there trying to find something. He said his mate was in shock, “he added.
Mr Humphrey’s wife Lesley, 59, called the emergency services.
The couple were told to leave the house before it was later declared safe for them to return.
Essex County Fire and Rescue Service said six properties were evacuated in the early hours due to the unstable ground.
“Crews worked to make the scene safe by 3: am before leaving it in the care of Anglian Water and Essex and Suffolk Water, “it said.
A spokesman for Anglian Water said it was investigating the incident together with the police and other utility firms.
Footage showed the vehicle being pulled out of the hole by a tow truck.
Storm Ciara has brought strong winds and heavy rain for much of the UK over the weekend.
The heavy downpours and strong gusts also saw a huge sinkhole open up in a garden in Belfield, Rochdale, in Greater Manchester.
Resident Amanda Webster spotted it opening up at the weekend. It had flowing water at the bottom.
And the owner of a B&B in Hawick, Scotland, has revealed the building collapsed in moments into the River Teviot after guests had been evacuated.
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