Sinkhole the size of a backyard pool opens up near Malcolm Turnbull's Sydney mansion

By @shauryaarya1 on
Sinkhole
A worker inspects a sinkhole that appeared after heavy rain outside a property located near Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's residence in Sydney, Australia, February 8, 2017. Reuters/David Gray

A sinkhole opened up near Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s harbourside mansion in Point Piper, a suburb of Sydney, on Wednesday. The incident occurred in the wake of Tuesday’s severe storms that cause massive rainfall across the city.

The sinkhole measured 10 x 15 x 10 metres (the size of a backyard pool) and opened just outside Turnbull’s mansion. Firefighters were notified about a “gas smell” on Wednesday morning. Four properties close to the site were evacuated by the police.

A spokesman from Fire and Rescue NSW said they were called to the scene at 7:10 a.m. with complaints of a gas leak believed to have been caused following the heavy rainfall overnight. “There was a smell of gas in the area, and a ruptured gas line and I think a burst water pipe were discovered. The crew on the scene have decided to lower someone in, to shut the gas off, and then have continued to monitor gas levels,” the spokesman said.

A pumper, a station officer and three firefighters arrived at the scene. “Every pumper has air-monitoring equipment on board which can check for explosive limits and deprivation of oxygen and hydrogen sulphide,” the spokesman said. “An hour later we sent our turntable ladders out there ... and under our protective safety procedures we put a firefighter in an air set under cover of a spray mist to go and put a clamp on the pipe.”

The stability of the site would be evaluated by geotechnical engineers. A Woolahra Council spokeswoman said the Wentworth St was closed off.

“Traffic is being diverted around the site and detours are available,” the spokeswoman said. Neither any damage to vehicles or nor any injuries were reported.

Speaking with The Australian, the Fire and Rescue NSW spokesman said the situation was under control. “We’ve clamped off the pipe, there’s no gas, no danger of explosion,” he said. “We’ve done air monitoring and the gas company are going to go there and complete the repair work.”

Meanwhile, Sydney is recovering from the severe rainfall it was subjected to on Tuesday. Forecasts predict more rainfall on Wednesday. The Illwarra region recorded maximum rainfall overnight, and two flood rescues were carried out by the SES. A few people were found to be trapped inside cars. As of 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, as many as 80 calls had been received by the SES. In the past 24 hours, the area had received almost 120 millimetres of rain.