A FAMILY in Mexico were sent fleeing for their safety after a massive sinkhole opened up inches away from their home.
The Sanchez family were given the shock their lives when a sinkhole 260ft wide and 60ft deep suddenly appeared next to their home in rural Mexico.
The family first thought it was a lighting strike but soon discovered the ground had collapsed on their farm.
The giant hole is opened on Saturday and is reportedly expanding by dozens of feet each day, alarming neighbouring residents in the state of Puebla.
The hole, which is full of water, was nearly 100 feet wide by Sunday.
It rapidly grew to 200 feet on Monday and around 260 feet on Tuesday, the authorities said, coming perilously close to the house.
The family fear they will be left homeless.
"We have nothing. We're not from here. We have no relatives. We're alone," Heriberto Sanchez.
Mexican authorities say the sinkhole was caused by a geological fault or variations in the soil's water content.
Local activists, however, suggested it was caused by an overuse of aquifers in the region.
The site is seated on the Alto Altayac fault, which stretches across three states including Puebla.
Local reports also suggested the site used to be a pond.
As the sinkhole has grown, large chunks of earth have continued to crumble, scaring off onlookers.
In a video posted on social media, two men were seen approaching the hole shortly before it expanded suddenly, forcing them to run to safety.
"It will grow until nature decides, when the water stops exerting pressure," Puebla state governor Miguel Barbosa said.
"The important thing now is public safety," he said, adding that the authorities would compensate those affected.
A sinkhole is a large hole that suddenly opens up in the ground – most often catching people totally unaware.
They are usually caused by erosion underneath the ground's surface that is due to a poor drainage of water.
Sinkholes have been known to be just a couple of feet across but also so big that they have swallowed up cars and buildings.
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