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Danger hole

Maria Bradshaw

Danger hole

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A huge hole has opened in Brittons Hill, St Michael, less than a mile from Arch Cot where a tragic cave-in claimed five lives four years ago.
The hole is on the grounds of the Eastern Caribbean Conference of the Seventh-Day Adventists (SDA) offices at Brydens Avenue.
Yesterday Government’s chief geologist Andre Brathwaite ventured briefly into the opening and confirmed that it was an underground cave.
“I don’t want to cause any alarm, but we have a serious problem here,” Brathwaite said, as he pointed out that the cave was running south-west and was 25 feet wide and 15 feet deep with the potential to drop further.
He explained that the top layer of the rock was soft, and coral was sitting on a large portion of the rock which was being eroded by an underwater zone.
On Wednesday morning SDA Pastor David Beckles got the shock of his life when, as he strolled across the grounds, he discovered that a portion of the earth had collapsed, exposing a massive hole.
The pastor told the WEEKEND?NATION?yesterday that it appeared as if the ground had caved in on Tuesday night.
Other church officials pointed out that a “big backhoe” was being used this week to clear land just behind the church’s wall.
Church officials including Pastor Carl Dyal and associate treasurer Beresford Hunte held a meeting with Brathwaite in Dyal’s office seeking to get his assessment of the situation.
Brathwaite assured them that it appeared as if the buildings in the complex were safe but he said he would have to carry out further investigations.
“I can’t say anything about where I am standing. I would have to do further tests to determine how far the cave stretches,” he said. He however warned them not to allow anyone near the opening of the cave, which is now cordoned off.
The director of the Natural Resources Department in the Ministry of Energy said the matter would be discussed with officials in the ministry to determine the next step.
Meanwhile, Dyal said the church would await an investigation before it made any decisions.
The complex at Brittons Hill houses the church’s administration offices as well as a nursing home. It was built in the 1970s.