A massive sinkhole created commuter chaos in downtown Fukuoka in southwestern Japan Monday, when the entire width of a major 5-lane road caved in on itself.
“The power was out all of a sudden and I heard a loud boom. I went outside and saw a huge hole,” said a witness, speaking to the Japanese daily The Mainichi.
The sinkhole collapsed at around 5 a.m. local time, leaving a hole about 65-feet deep and waking up nearby residents as it swallowed traffic lights and chunks of road, exposing the support columns of nearby buildings.
Subway systems were disrupted and blackouts affected about 800 households. Meanwhile, much of the surrounding area was evacuated by authorities due to worries over further sinkholes and potential gas explosions. Fukuoka airport also suffered a brief blackout.
The city’s Mayor Soichiro Takashima said the sinkhole was “unprecedented,” adding that local government “will speed up its efforts to prevent secondary disasters and repair lifelines.” Officials suspect the incident was linked to construction on a nearby subway line.