London

Car falls down huge hole in street in Charlton, London

Car in hole Image copyright PA
Image caption The blue Vauxhall Zafira is resting in the huge hole

A car has fallen down a huge hole in a street in south-east London.

The Vauxhall Zafira was left on Woodland Terrace in Charlton by Ghazi Hassan, who was visiting his brother on Wednesday night.

He said this "wasn't a good day" but was "thankful" his family were not hurt and no-one else was injured in the incident.

BBC Radio London has reported speculation that the collapse could be due to recent heavy rain.

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Media captionGhazi Hassan speaks of the moment he saw his car had fallen down a huge hole

The blue people carrier has since been lifted out of the hole by a crane, and was first discovered by police outside St Thomas' Church at about 03:20 BST.

Mr Hassan said: "In life you have good days and bad days. This morning wasn't a good day.

"But I'm thankful me or my family wasn't in the car.

"I've told the insurance. They are coming to pick it up and repair it so that's the positive side, and that no-one was injured."

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Media captionThe car was swallowed by the ground in Charlton, south London

Mr Ghazi's brother, Abdul Ahmadzai, said: "I woke up very surprised. The police were here about 4am so I came outside and saw the car - they said it was in a hole.

"I thought: 'There's nothing I can do' and went back to sleep. I just woke up again now."

Image caption Workers from Thames Water are on the scene in Charlton
Image copyright Helen Jakeways
Image caption The road is expected to remain closed for several days
Image copyright PA
Image caption Police were called to Woodland Terrace in the early hours

The Reverend Erica Wooff, the rector of Charlton, who lives next door to the church, said her initial reaction was: "Oh my goodness, there's a hole in the road".

"There was a massive storm last night. It has been raining constantly for the past two days but I didn't hear tarmac rip open," she said.

'Resting on pipe'

Resident Cleo O'Kane, 25, said she heard a loud bang during the night.

"It was raining so much I thought it was thunder," she said.

"I woke up and then just went back to sleep - my window was open - then woke up at six this morning, came outside and there was a car in a hole."

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Media captionVanessa Feltz speaks to Abdul Ahmadzai from Charlton who woke up to find his brother's car in a giant hole

She added: "All the car is resting on apparently is a pipe, otherwise it would have disappeared."

The road has been closed near the church due to "subsidence problems", London Buses said.

A council spokesperson said it was expected the road would remain closed for several days but the hole is "stable".

The spokesperson said: "It has been confirmed the car is not resting on a gas main and can safely be removed. Once the car has been removed this will facilitate the investigations into the causes of the incident.

"The geology in the area is sand/gravel and there is nothing to indicate that the collapse is related to old mine workings."

Thames Water said there were engineers at the scene checking whether there is any damage to clean water or sewer pipes.

A diversion is in place for bus route 380.

Image caption The car was parked outside St Thomas' Church on Woodland Terrace
Image caption A man tied to the crane for his own safety, tied a rope around the car so the crane could lift the vehicle out of the hole
Image caption The car was successfully recovered by the crane

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