Sinkhole develops in Picher Oklahoma

Picher, Oklahoma (AP) 3-09

A large sinkhole has opened near downtown Picher.

Police say the sinkhole is about 15 feet across and drops to about 40 feet into standing water.

The hole is on Bureau of Indian Affairs land in an empty lot near houses but officials say they don’t know if anyone is living in the houses.

Picher is in the contaminated Tar Creek Superfund area where home- and business owners are being bought out.

Reports show hundreds of homes, businesses and churches in the area could cave in because of underground tunnels after years of mining.