Mexican coastal highway cracks up and slides 300ft down mountainside into sea after earthquake near U.S. border
A cement truck driver is lucky to be alive after the coastal highway he was driving on in Mexico cracked and sunk some 300 feet down a mountainside into the sea near the U.S. border.
The driver was rescued by heavy machinery before his truck, along with a 300-yard section of the road, which leads to port city Ensenada on the Baja California peninsula, slid into the Pacific Ocean.
While it remains unclear what caused the landslide, fractures in the Tijuana-Ensenada toll road were seen after several small earthquakes ranging from 1.3 to 4.3 in magnitude shook the area on December 19, according to some media reports. By Saturday morning huge cracks appeared in the cliff-side, exacerbated by heavy rain, before it slid into the sea.
Cliff-side cracks: A cement truck driver was rescued from his vehicle after huge section of the Tijuana-Ensenada toll road cracked and slid 300 feet into the Pacific Ocean
The landslide caused gaping holes, one more than 40 feet deep and 200 feet long.
The collapse occurred about 58 miles south of the American border, closing the scenic road near the San Miguel toll booth.
Some media reports suggest that the road may remain closed for up to a year with vehicles advised to use a smaller, alternate freeway.
Fault line: Days before the road collapsed, several small earthquakes were recorded in the area and cracks started to appear in the road
Caved-in construction: The landslide caused gaping holes in the road up to 40 feet deep and 200 feet long
Gilberto Hirata, the mayor of Ensenada, has blamed the national road authority CAPUFE for not closing the road sooner after pictures and reports of fractures were posted on social media according to SanDiego6.com.
He also said that discussions were underway to build a replacement highway after years of recurring damage on the route.
The day before the landslide, the road authority and the Ministry of Communications and Transport announced that work to strengthen the asphalt had begun on sections of the troublesome highway in sloped areas according to El Mexicano.
The road closure could prove devastating for Ensenada which is home to the third busiest cruise ship terminal in Mexico and the major access point to Baja by sea.
Delayed reaction? The mayor of Ensenada blamed the road authority for not acting sooner after pictures and reports of cracks in the road were posted on social media days before the collapse
Devastating damage: The toll road, which could be closed for up to a year, provides access to the major port of Ensenada and is the main access point to Baja by sea