On Tuesday morning, one of Japan’s biggest cities received a major surprise when sinkhole opened up on a five-lane street in the center of Fukuoka.
Two relatively small depressions began forming around 5 a.m., but by midmorning, they had collapsed into one and filled with water. In the end, the sinkhole took out a 98-foot-wide section of the road.
“The electricity went off suddenly and I heard a loud boom,” a witness was quoted as saying, according to a Kyodo news agency and quoted in The Guardian. “I went outside and saw a huge hole.”
“The road has collapsed near my office and now I can’t go to work because we’ve been told to evacuate,” another local worker said.
Officials then evacuated the nearby area, including a 7-Eleven store perched on the lip of the sinkhole, as concern spread that there may be damage to the support columns for the commercial buildings looming overhead. Power, water, gas, and transport connections were severely disrupted as well.
While local hospitals have reported no direct injuries, the power outage caused an elderly lady to slip down the stairs in the dark, according to broadcaster NHK.
City officials said that underground construction to extend a nearby train line may have had something to do with the sinkhole’s formation.