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Sidewalk collapses, sends man into rat-filled hole

Friday, October 30th 2020, 11:54 am - It's the stuff of nightmares, and right before Halloween.

A New York City man is in the hospital with injuries after the sidewalk collapsed underneath him, causing him to fall into a hole filled with rats, the CBS New York reports.

Family members told local media that the victim, Leonard Shoulders, 33, was afraid to speak while in the hole because rats might get into his mouth.

Shoulders sustained head and arm injuries in the 3-metre fall. Surveillance video shows a person walking on the sidewalk Saturday in a Bronx neighbourhood. The sidewalk suddenly caves in, swallowing up the individual.

The ordeal lasted about 30 minutes. During his time in the hole Shoulders was unable to move and had "rats crawling on him," his brother Greg White told CBS.

Officials said the area of sidewalk is in need of repair. The dentist's office connected to it was evacuated and the owner had been ordered to install a fence around the walkway.

To a casual observer the caving may have looked like a sinkhole, a phenomenon that occurs when swelling groundwater, erosion, or a combination of those things cause the ground to give way and collapse into a hole.

Curbed reports the collapse that injured Shoulders is more likely due to a sidewalk built over an empty basement. These spaces are called sidewalk vaults and they're common in the oldest parts of New York City.

It isn't the first time a sidewalk collapse has hurt a resident. In 2017, a 47-year-old mother of two was seriously injured when the ground collapsed near the building where she lives.

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