IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Massive sinkhole threatens house in Mexico's Puebla state

Spectators have gathered to watch the sinkhole grow, but police have put up barricades to keep them at a safe distance.

A massive sinkhole that continues to grow is threatening to swallow a home near Mexico's capital.

The crater, which appeared Saturday in Santa Maria Zacatepec, is filled with water, according to footage of the scene. The town, about 80 miles outside of Mexico City, is in Puebla state.

The hole began at just over 5 yards wide but has since ballooned to 75 yards wide, officials said.

Spectators have gathered in the area, forcing police to put up barricades to keep them at a safe distance.

investigators are working to figure out what caused the ground to give, but authorities said they are most immediately concerned with safety.

Puebla state governor Miguel Barbosa described the situation as "a matter of enormous risk," according to Newsweek.

"I tell the Poblanos and the people of the region that we are going to be aware that there are no human tragedies," he said. "It is a geological fault that must be addressed with great care, with technique and with all the precautions and we are doing it."

The family whose home was close to the hole was evacuated, Barbosa said.

Magdalena and Heriberto Sánchez, the owners of the residence, recalled the thunderous sound that alarmed them.

"At 6 o'clock we heard like thunder and we did not think this was it and then my in-laws realized it and when I got closer, I saw that the earth sank and how the water was bubbling and I panicked," Magdalena Sánchez told El Sol de México.

Sinkholes form when groundwater circulates underground, dissolving the rock beneath the surface, according to the United States Geological Survey. The collapses are usually sudden "because the land usually stays intact for a while until the underground spaces just get too big."