Ground Collapse at a Metro Station in Chinese City Two Weeks After Inspection

December 17, 2019 Updated: December 17, 2019

A sudden ground collapse occurred outside Xiamen’s Lucuo metro station in the evening of Dec. 12. The road was busy and at least four cars were seen falling into the sinkhole. Underground water pipes broke causing muddy water to quickly flood the sinkhole and spill onto the metro platform and tracks.

The collapse occurred at 9:52 p.m. local time. Around 11 p.m., Xiamen Metro announced online that the sinkhole was about 500 square meters (5,382 square feet) in size, and all the drivers inside the vehicles managed to escape safely.

Xiamen is a coastal city in Southeast China’s Fujian Province. Among China’s second-tier cities, it is considered more developed and affluent than most of its peers.

Lucuo metro station is relatively new. It belongs to Xiamen Metro Line 2, which had been inspected and passed two weeks before the incident. The inspection team claimed that all aspects of construction including civil engineering, mechanics, and electrical, were satisfactory.

Mr. Huang, a well-known real estate freelancer in Xiamen, revealed in his blog that there were two minor collapses in this location before the Dec. 12 incident. On both occasions, when witnesses called the city mayor’s hotline to report the problem, the person handling the hotline told them that there was nothing to worry about.

This is the third ground collapse reported by Chinese state media in December.

On Dec. 1, a major ground collapse, also near a metro station, occurred in Guangzhou. A street-cleaning truck and a scooter plunged into the giant sinkhole, trapping three people. Local authorities did not attempt to rescue the victims. Instead, three hours later, they ordered filling of the sinkhole with mud concrete to prevent further road erosion, and showed total disregard for those trapped in the hole who may have still been alive.

Two days later, on another major thoroughfare in Guangzhou, the sidewalk suddenly collapsed around 6 p.m., forming a sinkhole about 4 square meters (43 square feet) in size. Luckily, no pedestrians fell in or were injured.