Four people died after being swallowed by a giant sinkhole in China on Sunday, authorities said today, following an unsuccessful bid to save two missing victims.

giant sinkhole in China

The ground opened up without warning in a district of Dazhou city, Sichuan province, at around 2:30 p.m. local time on October 7, state media said. Footage published online, some taken from a CCTV camera in a nearby shop, revealed the moment of sudden collapse.

It showed people tumbling to the ground as the 10ft-wide sinkhole opened. In another clip, two firefighters are seen scrambling for their lives during a second collapse on Sunday.

According to Yahoo7, the first victim was located at just after midnight on Monday, roughly 10 hours after the incident occurred. The second person was discovered some nine hours later. Both individuals were later declared dead by paramedics, the first while traveling to hospital.

Responders found the first victims 6.5 meters (21 ft) below ground, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported today. Excavators later burrowed to up to 8 meters.

CNN identified the remaining two victims as a “father and his 11-year-old son.” The pair were found deceased on Tuesday afternoon after a two-day search by rescue teams.

"The biggest difficulty is that the road surface is thick with a large amount of soil," Gao Mingyue, an official at the fire service, previously told China Central Television (via CNN).

Authorities said electric wires and gas pipelines underground had slowed their efforts.

Mingyue continued: “When we arrived, the caved-in area was not big, which only covered two meters both in length and depth. But during the rescue process, it collapsed again, causing another two-meter sink. Firefighters at once evacuated while doing the rescue work.”

Dozens of firefighters were involved in the operation and authorities had evacuated hundreds of buildings, according to the SCMP. The catalyst of the collapse remained unknown Tuesday.

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