John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
This latest gaping chasm is said to measure four-stories deep.
Did you ever play that game as a kid where you jump from carpet square to carpet square, pretending everything in between is a bottomless chasm? Pedestrians in China do that all the time, except for them it's absolutely real.
Thanks to shoddy construction jobs, leaky pipes eroding soil and other infrastructural problems, Chinese cities are plagued with sinkholes. Almost a hundred of them developed in Beijing during one month in 2012. Sinkholes have eaten pedestrians while they walked down the sidewalk, enveloped six buildings, a couple trees and some sidewalk and now have taken a poor man on a four-story-deep ride to oblivion in Shenzhen, a southern city near Hong Kong.
The newest hole lurched into being today near a construction site, sucking down paving stones in two locations. NBC reports:
The sinkhole, reportedly 16.5 feet in diameter and four-floors deep, swallowed up a 25-year-old security guard working in the tower. Rescue workers were able to reach the guard and take him to a nearby hospital, but he died soon after.
Shenzhen authorities are still unsure why the collapse happened. Residents interviewed by the Southern Metropolis reported recently feeling multiple tremors in the area around the construction site.
Somebody had already placed warning cones around the site before it collapsed, suggesting people were aware of the unsteady ground. If you watch the below video, you'll notice that somebody places another cone there after the hole appeared, a little late to have any beneficial effect.