John Metcalfe is CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, based in Oakland. His coverage focuses on climate change and the science of cities.
This person probably did not imagine spending the day trying to crawl out from a brand new hole in the street.
What are they making the sidewalks in Turkey out of nowadays, crumpled newspaper and spittle? Something definitely was defective in this cursed stretch of roadway, because it suddenly caved in on Thursday with one poor soul locked in its sucking maw.
Security-camera footage from Çorum, a nothern Turkish city of about 218,000 people, shows pedestrians milling about in a snowy plaza, oblivious to the shifting terrain beneath their boots. One person in the right of the frame seems to sense something's awry – perhaps there was a snap, or the snow drifts slightly lurched – because he stops walking right at the edge of what Turkish media are calling a "pedestrian bridge" (though it looks nothing of the sort).
In the next second, a large rectangular-shaped hunk of road drops into blackness. What's amazing is that two people standing on or near the infirm ground managed to book it to safety. But one high-school student strolling in the middle of the developing urban canyon accompanied it on its swift journey into the netherworld. The student made it out with "light injuries," according to Today's Zaman.
Recent sinkholes in Chinese sidewalks, some leading to horrific scaldings, have been blamed on leaky water pipes eating away the earth. Turkish authorities have yet to explain this infrastructural oopsie, though, which may or may not have been caused by the weight of the accumulated snow: