Officials have halted a major construction project at a hospital in Surabaya, Indonesia, after a large sinkhole opened up at the site, local media have reported.
The pit—which measures an estimated 100 ft wide and 50 ft deep, appeared by the Surabaya’s Siloam Hospital Tuesday night local time, The Jakarta Post stated.
“I thought it was an earthquake. I backed the car and went against the flow. People ran around asking for help, went out of their cars leaving their vehicle,” Kertajaya subdistrict resident Rudianto, 47, told the newspaper.
Surabaya deputy mayor Wisnu Sakti Buana alleged on local station Kompas that a failure to build adequate foundations for a basement car park caused the pit to emerge. The sinkhole “is related to [the Siloam Hospital project] on the side of the road. They were supposed to build a foundation first, but they didn’t,” he told the broadcaster.
National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho stated construction flaws were behind the sinkhole. A “retaining wall was not able to withstand the load, especially during the rainy season,” he said in a statement, per The Post.
Officials are now investigating the circumstances surrounding the sinkhole, according to Tribun News. The construction project won’t resume until the problem is resolved, the outlet reported.
Although Indonesia is plagued by natural disasters, Nugroho said there was no connection between the sinkhole and two nearby earthquake faults, according to The Straits Times.
Like Indonesia, the U.S. is no stranger to subsidence-related pits. Firefighters in Kentucky recently rescued a cow that became stuck in a sinkhole earlier in December.
“Crews worked together, using backhoes, to make the hole safe enough to dig out the cow and lift him to safety,” the Lexington Fire Department wrote in a social media statement. “Thankfully, the cow did not appear to be injured, and will spend the next few days resting before getting back to work grazing in the fields.”
Back in November, viral footage captured the terrifying moment an emerging sinhole swallowed a woman in China’s Gansu Province. Local police managed to pull the woman from the pit, but she suffered broken ribs in the ordeal.
In October, researchers investigated a giant, “world class” cave complex beneath a sinkhole in China’s Guangxi autonomous region. Sophisticated 3D mapping revealed the cave hall had an enormous volume of about 236 million cubic feet.