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Growing Sinkhole Threatens Entire Community
BAYOU CORNE, Louisiana (Adriana Diaz) A dramatic video from the Louisiana Bayou shows a growing sinkhole swallowing trees whole.
A nearby community has been under an evacuation order for more than a year. As Adriana Diaz reports, neighbors think a mining company may be to blame.
It looks like something out of a science fiction movie. In Bayou Corne, Louisiana a sinkhole below this swamp is swallowing trees whole and threatening 150 homes. On nearby Crawfish Stew Street, Janet and Gerald Merritt are packing the last of their things from the home they where they had planned to live out the rest of their lives.
In just over a year, the sinkhole has grown to 24 acres, about the size of 20 football fields.
Bayou Corne sits on a salt dome, a layer of salt deep underground. That's where the company Texas Brine built a cavern to mine salt to sell to chemical companies. Part of the cavern wall collapsed taking the ground above with it. The pressure from below is now sending dangerous natural gas bubbling into the air.
Texas Brine is installing wells to vacuum the natural gas out but that could take years. Bruce Martin is VP of Operations at Texas Brine.
A lot of residents here say though they moved to Bayou Corne to live out the rest of their lives, and now they have to flee.
Texas Brine gives resident $875 a week for evacuation costs. Some think that's not enough and have filed a class action lawsuit. The Merritts took a buy out and are moving to Baton Rouge.