Sinkhole Opens in the Middle of Japanese City

Subway construction work caused a sinkhole to open next to JR Hakata Station in the capital of the Fukuoka prefecture. The sinkhole has swallowed a major road, causing power and gas supply disruptions, and threatening nearby buildings.

The sinkhole first appeared at around 5:15am. Residents and office workers around the sinkhole were evacuated at 9:45am after the sinkhole expanded and showed signs of threatening buildings.

Power outages have affected the Bank of Fukuoka’s online systems and caused disruptions to ticketing systems at Fukuoka International Airport.

At 10 am, the sinkhole was 30 meters long, 27 meters wide and 15 meters deep.

Japanese officials bow in apology
Fukuoka Prefecture transportation officials apologize after admitting a sinkhole that threatens to swallow nearby buildings was caused by subway extension work. Photo:Asahi Shimbun

Fukuoka Department of Transportation held a press conference where they admitted that the problem is caused by subway construction. Officials bowed in apology for the incident.

Construction workers on the 24 hour per day project were drilling through rock when a cave-in exposed a layer of sand containing groundwater. Workers were immediately evacuated as water flowed into the tunnel.

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