The search for a mother and daughter whose car fell into a large sinkhole turned into a recovery effort Tuesday, three days after they went missing. Late Tuesday, authorities said they had located his car at a depth of about 50 feet using geotechnical technology.

Minor Suarez, an engineer who specializes in geology, said he found differences in metals beneath the surface of what he thought was a car. It is unknown if the women were still in the car.

Guatemalan authorities ordered businesses within 200 yards of the hole to close as dirt and tar continued to fall into the hole, sometimes sending vibrations to the surrounding surface.

Angel Mario Gonzalez, the volunteer fire chief in charge of the operation, said Tuesday that they were working with shovels at the bottom of the hole to prevent further collapse.

Sinkhole in Villa Nueva
Rescue workers pull a vehicle out of a sinkhole opened by rain on September 25, 2022 in Villa Nueva, Guatemala.

Luis Echevarria / Reuters

But they said they are now only looking for their bodies.

“At 6 p.m., 72 hours will have passed since the incident,” he said. “The chances of survival are zero.”

Felipe Mejia stood with other relatives about 50 yards from the edge of the sinkhole, hoping for word about the two missing women – his daughter-in-law Olga Emilia Chose, 38, and granddaughter Michelle Mejia Chose, 15.

He said his son Adolfo Mejia, who was riding with his wife and daughter, was released from hospital on Monday and had two fingers amputated while trying to save his daughter.

Mejia said his son could not return to the scene. “He can’t. He says he’s very sorry,” said the father.

“It’s been three days. We don’t want them to stop. We want them dead or alive,” Mejia said. “We won’t quit until we find it. My family isn’t done.”

The hole opened on Saturday evening on the main road of Vila Nueva, southwest of the capital. Video of the scene shows traffic moving on a dark, rain-soaked road when suddenly a vehicle plunges into a ditch.

The Mejia family was on their way home from the local market where they sell clothes. Heavy rains for several days have caused landslides and floods.

In all, two vehicles fell into the mud. Four people were immediately rescued, but there is no sign of Choz and her daughter. Rescuers, using metal detectors and search dogs, have descended with ladders and cranes in hopes of finding them.

In 2010, almost perfect circularity A sinkhole swallowed an entire intersection in Guatemala City But there were no deaths or injuries.

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