US & Canada

Evacuation after huge Ottawa sinkhole

A large portion of Rideau Street in downtown Ottawa, Ontario is seen caved in, causing a massive sinkhole that knocked out power to the majority of the downtown area on June 8, 2016. Image copyright CHRIS ROUSSAKIS/AFP/Getty Images
Image caption The sinkhole formed next to a shopping mall in downtown Ottawa

A vast sinkhole shut down a busy area in the centre of the Canadian city of Ottawa.

The hole opened up next to a shopping mall, causing a gas leak and prompting the evacuation of a nearby hotel and other businesses.

The collapse continued to spread to the width of an entire street, swallowing a parked van and a lamppost.

The incident also halted construction on a nearby light rail transit line and the hole filled with water.

A burst watermain appeared to gush into the sinkhole on Rideau Street just after the collapse, but officials have since shut off the supply.

A power outage in the area was also reported, affecting about 850 customers, according to Canadian media.

Image copyright CHRIS ROUSSAKIS/AFP/Getty Images
Image caption The sinkhole knocked out power to most of the downtown area

There were no reported injuries, but officials have advised people to avoid the area until further notice.

It is unclear if the sinkhole was due to ongoing construction on the city's Light Rail Transit. A new section of the system was being dug out nearby.

Evacuated businesses include the Shaw Centre, a CIBC bank, a Chapters bookstore and the Rideau Centre mall.

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