Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Sinkhole Swallows Road Junction in Heart of City

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Sinkhole Swallows Road Junction in Heart of City

Article excerpt

Byline: Michael Howie

A HUGE sinkhole opened in a fivelane street in one of Japan's biggest cities today, swallowing traffic lights and cutting off power, water and gas supplies.

The collapse began at about 5am in Fukuoka, on the southern island of Kyushu. By the afternoon, the hole was about 100ft long -- more than half the length of an Olympic swimming pool -- and about 50ft deep. Nobody was injured but several multi-storey commercial buildings teetered at the edge of the abyss, at a junction near the city's central Hakata station. One man told Fuji TV: "I saw a stoplight fall. It was really scary."

Footage showed burst water mains spewing muddy torrents into the hole, which city officials said was probably caused by construction work for the city's metro system.

"The electricity went off suddenly and I heard a loud boom. I went outside and saw a huge hole," another witness told Kyodo news agency.

The mayor of Fukuoka, Soichiro Takashima, said: "An accident like this is unheard of, one that should not have happened. …

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