A Massive Sinkhole in the Heart of Fukuoka City
A massive sinkhole swallowed a major 5-lane road in the bustling city of Fukuoka in southwestern Japan, creating a stir among commuters and cutting power in some parts of the city Tuesday morning.
According to media reports, the sinkhole collapsed in the early hours of the morning, causing alarm for nearby residents. Local emergency crews responded immediately and surrounded the gaping hole, which was partially filled with water.
The sinkhole left a massive hole of about 65-feet deep.
An aerial view showed the huge size of the sinkhole, swallowing traffic lights and large chunks of road, and exposing its depth.
The local authorities said there were no reports of serious injuries but it mainly caused blackouts for nearby residents and inconvenience among commuters. One report received by the authorities said an elderly woman slipped on some stairs because of the blackout.
Blackouts in the Nearby Area
These reports made headlines in local news as the sinkhole disrupted power, water, gas and transport links in the area.
One witness speaking to the Japanese daily The Mainichi said, “The power was out all of a sudden and I heard a loud boom. I went outside and saw a huge hole.”
Power cuts were cited in subway systems, and Fukuoka airport. They affected about 800 households. To avoid casualties, the authorities evacuated residents in the surrounding area. The locals feared for possible additional sinkholes and potential gas explosions.
The Culprit: Underground Work Affecting Nearby Subway Line
The local authorities blamed the engineering work carried out on a nearby subway station as the culprit of the sinkhole’s sudden appearance.
However, the city’s Mayor, Soichiro Takashima assured the public there would be a speedy response to the problem.
Takashima said the sinkhole was “unprecedented,” adding that local government “will speed up its efforts to prevent secondary disasters and repair lifelines.”