Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Rolling In The Deep: Seoul's Sinkholes

The first time I saw the footage of this accident on Korean TV last weekend, I immediately recognized the sidewalk! It was the bus stop before the one where I used to alight when I rode the Blue Bus 400 on my way to the Yongsan Station (I no longer take this bus though). And it's right next to a construction site.

The footage showed a couple (a guy and his girlfriend according to the news) falling into a sinkhole after getting off a blue-colored bus, and there's only one blue bus that stops on there: the Blue Bus 400!

Here are the videos of the accident from YTN News:

Luckily, they survived the three-meter fall with a few scratches after getting medical attention at a nearby hospital. The ground below the sidewalk got eroded by the excavation being made by a construction company, which is building a 39-storey apartment complex in the area. According to the news, the Seoul City government may impose a penalty on the construction company due to this accident.

This actually happened last week during the lunar new year holidays. I guess that day the couple was supposed to be enjoying their holidays. Instead, they ended up at a hospital.
             (The sidewalk around this construction site 
                           is currently off-limits)

Last year, the news about sinkholes appearing in the Jamsil area near the construction site of the Lotte World Tower scared the residents living there. But this time, sinkholes now have now shown up here in my Yongsan District neighborhood. Although the construction company already covered the sinkhole, the sidewalk is still closed to pedestrians.

But if even if they become passable, I wouldn't venture walking through that side, lest I want to suddenly disappear into the ground. 
               (Another construction site on the other side)

Weren't the two just lucky it happened during daytime and there was someone who called for help? What if it was a lone pedestrian just passing through the area late at night? Or worse, what if the passer-by was a mother with a baby?

With all these fatal accidents happening lately, I guess nobody should take this piece of news lightly. It would be a very pricey lesson to learn if you happen to be a victim of one of these avoidable accidents.

From reckless drivers who don't obey the traffic lights or care about pedestrian lanes, to motorcycles competing with everyone else on the sidewalk, and now, sinkholes, too?!

I used to say that motorbikes, puke and cars compete with pedestrians for space on Seoul's sidewalks. I think I should now include sinkholes to the list.

So, the next time you're walking on the sidewalk next to a huge construction site with deep excavation, do watch out. You don't want to be rolling into deep.

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