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Huge sinkhole swallows cars near Italian tourist spot

FLORENCE, Italy -- An underground water main break along Florence's picturesque Arno River has created a 200-yard-long sinkhole that buried dozens of parked cars.

Parked cars are seen in a chasm after a road running next to the River Arno collapsed in Florence, Italy, May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Handout

Firefighters asked residents of nearby palazzi to evacuate voluntarily, as there was no water or lighting in the area. Hours after the pre-dawn break, authorities were trying to determine Wednesday whether the weakened asphalt could withstand the weight of a crane to extract the waterlogged cars that fell into the hole.

Mayor Dario Nardella stressed that the underground flooding was the result of a gash in a two-foot diameter pipe, one of the major water conduits in the neighborhood, and not a leak in the banks of the Arno.

The scene is near the famed Ponte Vecchio bridge, a favorite spot for tourists shopping for jewelry.

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