UK

Fulham Pavement Collapse Swallows Woman On North End Road

23/04/2015 11:12 BST | Updated 23/04/2015 17:59 BST

A woman has been taken to hospital after she plummeted into a hole which opened beneath her feet in a busy west London street.

Passers-by heard a loud scream as the women plunged into the 3ft wide crevice outside the Marrakech Express cafe in Fulham.

Police and ambulance services were called to the site in North End Road at 8.40am on Thursday.

fulham pavement collapse

Emergency services attended a pavement collapse in Fulham

Early unconfirmed reports suggested the woman had fallen into the hole while pushing an infant in a pram. It has since been confirmed she was pushing a shopping trolley.

The confusion arose after eyewitness Kate Sissons wrote on Instagram: “OMG! Poor woman and pram just disappeared down this hole in North End Road. She’s stuck down there.”

She added: "It just happened! Loud scream and all I could see was the pram. Ambulance and fire on the way to get her out. Scary. V v scary."

fulham pavement collapse

A woman is understood to have fallen into the hole

A spokesman for the London Ambulance Service told Huffington Post UK the woman was "shaken, though not seriously injured." She was taken to Charing Cross Hospital.

The incident came shortly after a man fell down the hole and twisted his ankle, locals said.

The area around the hole had been blocked off with tables and chairs early on Thursday morning in an attempt to stop passers-by walking into it, nearby stall holders said.

But despite warning shouts by cafe staff, the woman is said to have squeezed through the chairs and fallen down the hole.

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A flower stall owner, who asked not to be named, said: "A man came running out of the cafe.

"The hole had been blocked off with tables and chairs but she had squeezed through and went straight down.

"She didn't have a pram or a buggy, it was a shopping trolley. The shop owner was shouting out to her 'Don't come through there'.

"We looked over and she was down, all the way down the hole. She had walked onto it and it had collapsed beneath her."

fulham hole

The area has been cordoned off as the council investigates how the incident occurred

fulham sinkhole

The manager of a nearby branch of Cancer Research arrived just after the incident happened. She told HuffPostUK: “A woman fell into a hole, the pavement opened up underneath her, the ground just gave way.

“I didn’t see a pram or a buggy but the whole area is cordoned off now.”

He and other stall holders dashed over to help the woman, who is believed to be in her 40s.

The stall holder said: "The gentleman came out of the cafe to help her. He was really, really worried.

fulham sinkhole

The woman has been taken to Charing Cross Hospital

"By then we were all over there talking to the woman as she was getting up. It looked like more bricks could fall on her so we were telling her to get out.

"She was shaky standing up and then went into the cafe."

Hammersmith and Fulham Council told HuffPost UK CCTV cameras in the area were "unfortunately pointing in the wrong direction" at the time of the incident.

A spokesman added: "Nobody has reported a sag in the road to us and we don't think there is any evidence it has been sagging at all.

"The council's structural engineer has carried out an initial investigation of the basement collapse in North End Road and secured the site.

fulham sinkhole

Earlier reports suggesting she had been pushing a pram have been proved inaccurate

"The freeholder of the property is legally responsible for the structural integrity of their basement but we are carrying out a full review of what's happened and will ensure the site is made safe and all necessary actions are taken once we have a full understanding of how this occurred."

Mohammed Atillah, who works in the cafe, said he was outside talking to the man who stumbled down the hole earlier, when the woman walked through the makeshift barrier and fell down it.

He held on to her as she dangled down, and then lowered her down as the hole connected to a basement.

He said: "The man said to me his left foot, the back bone of it was broken. He said 'Look what happened'.

"I could see a small hole. I put the tables and chairs so no-one would come through.

"A lady was passing down the street, she came into the middle of the tables and fell down the hole. She had put her foot in and was in. She fell down, and I held her. I was scared to let go."

He said he lowered her down the hole and she walked back up to the cafe via the basement and stairs.

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