Officials: Bus Sitting On Major Power Lines That Need To Be Turned Off


PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A massive sinkhole opened up in downtown Pittsburgh during the Monday morning rush hour, swallowing the back half of a Port Authority bus and nearly a car with it.

Emergency crews have been on the scene all day at Penn Avenue and 10th Street, near the Westin Hotel. They were called there just before 8 a.m., and are expected to be there into the evening hours.

Officials say it will take quite some time to remove the bus. Afternoon rush hour traffic and fans looking for parking before tonight’s Pittsburgh Steelers game at Heinz Field could be impacted.

Director of Pittsburgh Public Safety Wendell Hissrich says the impact will last even longer than just Monday night. He says 10th Street will be closed for at least one to two weeks.

WATCH: Bus Swallowed By Sinkhole (Pt. 1) —

 

WATCH: Bus Swallowed By Sinkhole (Pt. 2) —

 

WATCH: Bus Swallowed By Sinkhole (Pt. 3) —

 

The entire back of the bus is in the hole with the front half sticking up in the air.

The G31 Bridgeville Flyer bus was stopped at a red light when the hole opened underneath it, the Port Authority said.

According to Port Authority officials, the back half of their buses are by far the heaviest part, because that is where the engine is located.

WATCH: KDKA’s Kym Gable reports

The Port Authority updated their numbers later in the morning, saying only two people – the driver and a passenger – were on the bus when the sinkhole opened beneath. Both were able to get off. Originally, officials believed 10 people were on-board.

The bus driver was not hurt, but Port Authority officials say the passenger was taken to Allegheny General Hospital to be treated for some minor neck pain.

Penn Avenue between 9th and 10th Streets is shut down as crews try to figure out how to remove the bus safely.

“The problem that we’re having is that we have to lift that Port Authority bus straight up, because we have a Duquesne Light electrical vault involved, we have several gas lines involved and we don’t want to create any further problems than what we have now. Traffic is going to be a problem for the next eight to 10 hours. I know that we have a Steelers game tonight.”

WATCH: KDKA’s Jennifer Borrasso reports

The sinkhole is about 20 feet deep.

Authorities say the bus is sitting on three major power lines. Those will need to be turned off before the bus can be removed. During that process, some downtown businesses could lose power, and at least one is already without water.

PHOTO GALLERY: Downtown Sinkhole Swallows Bus

Crews are bringing in large cranes to then lift the bus out of the sinkhole.

As of Monday evening just before 5 p.m., two cranes have arrived.

WATCH: Cranes on scene to lift bus out of sinkhole —

Hissrich says it will take three to four hours to build the crane and then 60 to 90 minutes to lift the bus.

The car that was behind the bus was towed away safely. That driver was not hurt.

Pittsburgh Police, Public Safety and Fire, along with Pittsburgh City Councilman Dan Gilman were all on scene.

Officials with Pittsburgh Public Safety say children who attend Small World Child Care, located along Penn Avenue, were evacuated from the building as a precaution and taken to the Westin Hotel. All are safe. There is no water to the daycare center building.

The Port Authority says a number of bus routes will be impacted by the accident. They have tweeted a list of the routes:

They are telling riders to anticipate heavy delays.

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority is also investigating.

Stay with KDKA for the latest on this developing story.