A large sinkhole was detected early Friday in Geumcheon-gu, southern Seoul, forcing 200 nearby residents to evacuate.
© YonhapA large sinkhole was detected early Friday in Geumcheon-gu, southern Seoul, forcing 200 nearby residents to evacuate.
A large sinkhole was detected early Friday at a parking lot of a Seoul apartment complex, forcing 200 residents to evacuate.

According to fire authorities, land is collapsing in a section 30 meters wide, 10 meters long with a depth of six meters in Geumcheon-gu, southwestern Seoul. Next to the apartment complex is a construction site.

Two hundred residents at the two apartment buildings near the site have been evacuated, while two people were escorted to the hospital citing psychological trauma.

"There was a large collapse sound last night," said Kim, a 58-year-old apartment resident. "I couldn't sleep and came outside and found the ground has collapsed."

The sinkhole occurred next to a construction site for a 30-story studio apartment. However, no workers were on site at the time.

Fire officials said there is a high possibility the recent heavy downpour was a major factor in the sinkhole's appearance. Geumcheon-gu was bombarded Monday with 148.5 millimeters of rain between midnight and 6 a.m.

Out of the 18 buildings of the apartment complex, one was tilted five degrees, but there are no present critical issues, said fire officials and the Geumcheon-gu Office.

"The wall set up for the construction has collapsed, which seems to have resulted in the sink hole. The apartment has its own pillars so it is less affected by soil runoff," said Lee Soo-kwon, architecture professor at Dongyang Mirae Univeristy.

"There seems to be no present danger, but we need to conduct an analysis and a thorough investigation, which can take up to two months."

Fire officials will temporarily fill in the sink hole to prevent further collapse, and after a safety diagnosis it will decide whether the residents can return to their homes.

Two people died and three were injured due to torrential rains that hit Seoul and surroundings for two consecutive days from Tuesday to Wednesday.

Goyang in Gyeonggi Province recorded 524 millimeters of rainfall from Tuesday to Wednesday, while Uijeongbu in the same province recorded 449 mm. Dobong-gu, a northeastern district of Seoul, had nearly 250 mm of rain on Wednesday alone.

Over 700 cases of flooding were reported in the capital, forcing 180 people across the country to seek temporary shelter; another 370 had to evacuate their homes.

Nearly 2,000 homes and businesses were damaged in Seoul, Incheon and Gyeonggi Province, and over 630 hectares of crops were destroyed.