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How a Giant Sinkhole Swallowed the City Streets in Japan

Nov 10, 2016 03:20 AM EST
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Police cordons the site where a giant sinkhole swallowed a busy street in Japan.
(Photo : Koki Nagahama/Getty Images)

A busy street in a Japanese city was swallowed by a sinkhole near an underground train construction site.

The city of Fukuoka in southern Japan stood witness as a five-lane highway was engulfed by a giant sinkhole. The sinkhole was attributed to the nearby underground subway tunnel works.

At first, the sinkhole was only about 7 to 8 meters, based on reports the authorities received on Tuesday, Nov. 8. The hole later developed into its current size that managed to devour the city streets in Fukuoka.

Before the incident, some residents were already evacuated due to the threat. There were a number of small holes that started to grow and merge together from smaller once creating a giant sinkhole that is about 300 meters from the JR Hakata railway station. The sinkhole is reportedly 27 meters wide, 30 meters long and 15 meters deep, according to a report by CNN.


Water peeped through sewage pipes caused the collapse of the major sections of the road, reports say. This happened in the middle of the construction of the JR Hakata subway extension.

Although investigations are still being conducted, some officials say that the underground construction could be directly linked to the formation of the sinkhole. But investigators are also checking for gas leaks in the area.

And although no major injuries were reported, the damage is too big of a deal and will cause major disruption in one of Japan's business district. Last Tuesday, a total of 800 households were reportedly affected by power outages that were abruptly restored the same day, according to a report.

The incident that occurred at 5:00 am on Nov. 8 was witnessed and was even filmed by some. "It was a bit dark outside, and my first impression was, 'Is the road really falling?" a witness told a news agency. "When I saw it, two holes were already there, and they continued to grow bigger," the witness added.

The sinkhole did not stop expanding until the morning on Tuesday and water from broken pipes fill the hole on the street.

The police continue to monitor the area until today while investigations are ongoing.


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