Gigantic street sinkhole causes turmoil in Fukuoka, Japan

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A gigantic sinkhole disrupted traffic and caused blackouts Tuesday morning in downtown Fukuoka, police and the city office said.

The site is around the area where construction work is underway to extend the city subway system’s Nanakuma Line. The police and the city are investigating to determine if the sinkhole was caused by the work.

The road apparently caved in around 5:15 a.m. at an intersection near JR Hakata Station in the capital of the prefecture, the city office said.

The police and the city office said they have yet to receive any injury reports.

The police instructed people nearby to evacuate and closed roads in the perimeter.

As of 9 a.m., sinkhole had expanded to 20 meters in every direction.

Some 800 households were affected by blackouts early in the morning, but power was restored gradually, reducing the number of affected households to about 170 as of 9:20 a.m.

“When I came to the office, police instructed us to get out of the building. It seems like I need to stay at home for now,” said Tsuyoshi Ito, 48, who works nearby.

Another person who was in a nearby building said: “The lights suddenly went out and there was a big heavy sound. When I went out, there was a huge hole.”