Taupō teenagers fright as sinkhole forms under them

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Two teenagers have described how “frightening” it was to see land moving from under them when a large sinkhole formed in Taupō.

Jono Park and his mate, Bailey Malloy, were enjoying a bike ride home on Saturday evening, when the sound of rushing water caught their attention.

As they passed number 12 Arrowsmith Avenue, they noticed a pipe had burst, causing water to gush out of the ground.

“We heard a waterfall-type sound, so we looked down into the gully and water was rushing really fast and then land started moving from under us,” Jono told Morning Report.

“It just looked like land slipping into the gully and the fence was starting to go with it. It was pretty frightening.”

The two boys then sprung into action, calling the fire brigade and their parents about the potential hazard.

Within an hour, the burst water pipe turned into a 10m wide sinkhole that engulfed the street.

Jono’s mother, Taupō City Councillor Anna Park, said both families were “extremely proud” of how the boys responded.

“They are very good boys and we would like them to stay being good boys. So they’ve got a kudos for good deeds – it’s something we certainly encourage.”

Up to 12 engineers and council staff were on site yesterday to assess the damage left by the hole, which the council said was 10 metres by eight metres and up to eight metres deep.

“We’ve had damage to the water main, the council water storm water, and down through the gully we’ve had considerable amount of pumice that has washed down through,” Taupō District Council water asset manager Tom Swindells said.

The asbestos cement pipe that burst was likely old and probably needed replacing, he said.

Mr Swindells warned the clean-up and repair costs would be significant, and it would take weeks to fix.

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