US & Canada

Los Angeles flood hits university

Burst water main on Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The broken water main created a large sinkhole as water poured out into the neighbourhood

A burst water main on Los Angeles' Sunset Boulevard has caused flooding at the University of California, Los Angeles, local officials say.

The main burst on Tuesday afternoon, sending a jet of water high into the air and opening a hole 10ft (3m) wide in the street.

Local roads were inundated and water poured into underground car parks.

Three motorists had to be rescued from flooded cars.

The broken 30in (76.2cm) main in the city's Westwood neighbourhood dates from 1921 and carries water from reservoirs in the San Fernando Valley to the city of Los Angeles.

In the three hours it took utility workers to stop the flow, as much as 8-10 million US gallons (30-38 million litres) had spilled, Los Angeles Water and Power said in a statement.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The water main burst on Tuesday afternoon
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Workers push water down stairs on the UCLA campus

The utility said it served about 500 million gallons of water to customers a day.

It said that crews shut down three large valves "as quickly and safely as they could", taking care to avoid damage to other pipes due to the shifts in water pressure.

Police discouraged anyone from trying to surf down streets flooded with ankle-deep water, after some people came to the area with boogie boards.

"That is probably one of the most dangerous things you can do," said Los Angeles Fire Department Captain Jaime Moore.

"For somebody to try and boogie board in this, it's just going to be an asphalt bath."

On Wednesday, a portion of Sunset Boulevard remained closed as utility officials continued repair.

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Media captionJaime Moore of Los Angeles Fire Department: ''Water was seen as high as 25 to 30 feet in the air''

But spokesman Jeff Bray told reporters the location of the leak - at the juncture of two large pipes - was "creating a lot of complexity". In addition, at least two valves were leaking nearby.

The leak has not affected water service elsewhere in the city, but UCLA facilities vice-chancellor Kelly Schmader said "significant damage" had been done to six buildings on campus.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Several roads were impassable as flood waters spread
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption UCLA sports courts at the Pauley Pavilion also suffering flooding

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