Kiev Parking Lot 'Swallows' Three Cars

KIEV, Ukraine -- A massive sink hole in the Ukrainian capital Kiev swallowed three automobiles, Sehodnia newspaper reported on Friday.

The four-metre-wide pit opened up at around 4am in a parking lot on Volkova street, in a working class neighbourhood.

A Zhiguli four-door, a Volkswagen minibus, and a BMW sedan sank to depth of two metres below the pavement, and were covered by water.

"I got up in the morning and looked out at the parking lot for my car, and all I saw was its antenna," said the Zhiguli's owner, who identified himself as Vitaly.

A crane hoisted the vehicles out of the hole later in the day.

City inspectors arriving on the scene blamed the pavement failure on a broken water main.

All three vehicle owners told reporters they intended to sue the Kiev city water administration damages received by their vehicles, as a result of poor maintenance of the city water supply system.

A statement made public by the Kiev city water utility, Kievvodakanal, blamed the incident on the parking lot operator, who according to Kievvodakanal had broken a city code by running a parking lot directly over a water main.

"We issued no permit to operate a parking lot on ground directly over the water main," a Kievvodakanal official said. "The drivers can try to sue the parking lot owner, but not us."

Privately-run parking lots on questionable territory are ubiquitous in Kiev, which has seen a massive influx of automobiles in recent years, but almost no construction of parking lots.

Hapless drivers searching for a spot often park in places usually forbidden to autos elsewhere in Europe - including sidewalks, traffic circles, and "private" parking lots run by entrepreneurs controlling a bit of city pavement.

Source: DPA


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