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Sinkhole Swallows Backhoe in Downtown Montreal

Mike Clarke/Getty Images(MONTREAL) -- A giant sinkhole that opened Monday on one of Montreal’s busiest intersections swallowed a backhoe with a worker inside.

The sinkhole emerged around 9:30 a.m., ET, Monday as crews arrived in Montreal’s downtown district to repair a city sewer pipe that had been reported leaking over the weekend, according to CTVNews.

“All of a sudden we saw from far that the whole street just caved in, and we could see the top of the tractor,” eyewitness Christine Komorowski told CTV. “It was unbelievable.”

A backhoe with a worker inside manning the controls dropped right into the approximately 26 foot long, 16 foot wide and 9 foot deep hole, the CBC reported.  The driver pulled himself out of the sinkhole and was uninjured but treated for shock.

The roadway where the sinkhole occurred was closed to traffic as investigators determine what caused the ground to open.

“We think that the water leak was because of the sewer pipe…it’s a broken sewer pipe,” Emilie Miskdjian, a spokeswoman for the Ville-Marie borough, told the CBC.

Authorities said they planned to bring in a crane as early as Tuesday afternoon to remove the backhoe.  They are waiting to determine if the ground is strong enough to support the crane and to make sure they do not disrupt a nearby gas pipe, according to the CBC.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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