Two killed in sinkhole on road south of Mexico City

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A father and son have been killed after a deep sinkhole swallowed their car on a major Mexican road, officials said.

Civil protection rescuers reached the rubble-covered Volkswagen Jetta lying on its roof at the bottom of the hole after working for more than eight hours on the closed section of road.

The sinkhole appeared before dawn, at around 6am local time. A crane lowered rescuers into a yawning hole the width of two lanes in the middle of the highway. The initial hole was widened in order to build a ramp for recovery purposes.

Rescue workers are lowered into the sinkhole that appeared in the Mexican road
Rescue workers are lowered into the sinkhole that appeared in the Mexican road (Tony Rivera/AP)

Gerardo Ruiz Esparza, secretary of the federal Transportation Department, said the sinkhole was apparently caused by the erosion of a drain that runs more than 50ft (15m) beneath the road.

At a news conference at the site, Mr Esparza blamed heavy rains during the past three days. He said a preliminary analysis indicated the rain caused a creek to swell beside the road and blocked the drain with trash, contributing to the erosion.

The public watch on as the rescue unfolds
The public watch on as the rescue unfolds (Tony Rivera/AP)

According to a statement from the department, the road was recently widened, but the existing drain was not thought to have been affected by this construction.

Mr Esparza said later through Twitter that engineers would study the situation to determine responsibility.

The Mexico-Cuernavaca road is connects the capital to the Pacific coast resort city of Acapulco.

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