A driver has told how a sinkhole created by a burst 24in water pipe "sucked the car across the road" in a village in Nottinghamshire, leaving her "frightened". Driver Sally Hall said she was driving her Honda CRV through an overflowing drain in Epperstone at around 6.45am on Sunday, 21 February.
The water came inside the car "flooding in over my knees" and Hall had to climb to safety. She told the BBC she was "frightened".
Hall said: "It was quite dark and there was a puddle of water. I thought it was a drain overflowing so went to drive through it. Then all of a sudden the car was sucked across the road and I ended up in the hole in the road. The water came flooding in over my knees and eventually the water was above the dashboard. It was fairly hard to escape… the car kept locking and unlocking itself so I had to get out of the passenger side which was difficult."
Hall managed to escape, and after the 4x4 was winched out engineers were able to start repairs. It is not yet clear what caused the burst. Severn Trent Water (STW) said the fault had caused water supply issues in the village and wider areas, including Bingham and Radcliffe-on-Trent.
Properties in East Bridgford, Upper Saxondale and Flintham were also affected. The water company said the sinkhole in the road was an "extreme example" of what happens when a large pipe bursts. Thousands of homes have been affected by the burst pipe.
"Due to the size of the water pipe, a lot of villages and towns in the area have been affected by the issue and left without water," STW said. "We've managed to get more people back on supply… and we've got teams working hard to get everyone else on as soon as possible."
STW added that said it could take a several hours before the water supply was restored to all homes. A spokesman said some houses had been restored with water but had no timescale for the rest of the network.
"We have a register of vulnerable people in the area so we're proactively contacting them to see how we can get water to them. Normally by now we would have more people back on but we haven't been able to do that because it's such a large pipe at 24in diameter. We have two potential solutions. One is obviously to fix the pipe and the other is to find an alternative source of getting water to homes so we're looking at which will be the quickest. It could be some time before all the homes have water again."
One resident from Bingham added: "The water pressure is struggling in our home. We still have water but it's not really filling the toilet, for example. A lot of our friends have been affected and cut off. Some people are already going to the local Shell garage to stockpile on water.
"I went to the new Lidl and the car park was rammed. Inside there were six or seven people at each till stockpiling water. The only water they had left was flavoured."