Supermarket collapses after salt mine cave-in

A supermarket collapsed and other buildings were at risk yesterday in Ocna Mures after part of a closed salt mine caved in. The sinkhole had 200 metres in diameter and continued to grow bigger because of water eating away at its sides. According to TV reports, cracks also appeared in the pavement, the Fiscal Administration office building and the parish house of the Orthodox Church. A total of 15 people were evacuated from the affected area and authorities were ready to intervene to evacuate more in case the sinkhole would grow significantly larger. Employees and goods of the Fiscal Administration were temporarily moved to two halls belonging to the town’s Culture House, while goods from two other houses near the sinkhole were also evacuated. The affected area was cordoned off by the police and the authorities stopped supply of water, electricity and natural gas in the entire town to avoid further damage, according to daily ‘Evenimentul Zilei’ online. Road traffic is also restricted in the area.

“We sent trucks and Emergency Situations Inspectorate teams to the area to prepare evacuation. We alerted the Gendarmerie and the Defence Ministry, to stand by in case the situation gets worse and their intervention is needed,” the head of the Alba Emergency Situations Inspectorate, Dorel Sofica, told Realitatea TV. A press release from the institution reads that the salt mine collapsed because of water under high pressure which reached the surface. Most part of the town is built over the former salt mine galleries, which are currently filled with water after being accidentally flooded twice, in 1947 and 1978. Ocna Mures Mayor Augustin Dragut told Realitatea TV that he and local specialists hoped the situation would be stabilised soon and explained that the authorities have no way of intervening to stop the sinkhole from expanding. The mayor added that local authorities took all measures to avoid any possible casualties.

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