• Giant sinkhole swallows Japan city street

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    TOKYO: A giant sinkhole appeared in the middle of a busy Japanese city on Tuesday, swallowing part of a five-lane street near the main railway station.

    The gaping hole, around 30 meters wide, exposed support columns of nearby buildings at a traffic intersection in the southern city of Fukuoka, prompting fears of further collapses.

    TV footage showed two separate holes steadily expanding as they sucked in asphalt and soil in front of the city’s Hakata Station, early Monday morning

    “It was a bit dark outside, and my first impression was, ‘Is the road really falling?’” a young man who saw the sinkhole develop told public broadcaster NHK.

    “When I saw it, two holes were already there, and they continued to grow bigger.

    “I got scared the most when a traffic light fell at an intersection close to where I was standing. I felt, ‘I have to get out of here,’” he told NHK.

    The hole continued to expand and by afternoon was around 15 meters deep, and filling with water from broken pipes.

    Police, who had cordoned off the area and evacuated buildings, said there had been no reports of any injuries.

    Fukuoka’s mayor and transport bureau said the ongoing extension to a nearby subway line might have triggered the sinkhole.

    AFP

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