A giant 30 meters wide and 15 meters deep sinkhole has swallowed up part of the four-lane Jl. Raya Gubeng in Surabaya, East Java, on Tuesday night. This is another dramatic event to be added to the list of increasing geological disasters (volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, landslide…) that have hit Indonesia in recent weeks.
Thousands of vehicles pass the road every day. It usually takes five minutes to travel the entire length of Jl. Gubeng, but it now takes roughly one hour.
Rudianto, 47, a resident of Kertajaya subdistrict who was about to drive through the location said he saw trees and lampposts rocking on the roadside just before the incident.
This is the exact moment when the sinkhole opens up:
“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,” Rudianto said.
National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said the sinkhole was allegedly related to the construction of a parking basement at Siloam Hospital.
“The retaining wall was not able to withstand the load, especially during the rainy season,” he said in a statement, adding that there was no connection between this incident and two active earthquake faults in Surabaya and Waru.
“This is related to the project on the side of the road. The Siloam Hospital project. They were supposed to build a foundation first, but they didn’t,” Wisnu said as quotedin an interview with KompasTV.
The police have questioned seven people from the project’s contractor, PT Nusa Konstruksi Enjiniring. “We are still waiting for an expert [opinion] regarding the cause of this incident. We have asked people for information, they are all related to the project,” said East Java Police chief Insp. Gen. Lucky Hermawan.
There have been no reports of any injuries. However, the search and rescue team and Surabaya Fire Service are still around to search for possible victims.
Imagine driving at night and being swallowed by such an enormous sinkhole… Well better don’t!