A New York City man is recovering at the hospital after falling through a sinkhole on a Bronx sidewalk, and winding up in a pit filled with rats, NBC New York reports.
Leonard Shoulders, 33, was waiting for the bus across the street from Saint Barnabas Hospital Saturday when the sidewalk collapsed beneath him. Surveillance footage shows Shoulders tried to hold on to whatever he could, but he ultimately fell between 12 and 15 feet underground. “He was just standing and the sidewalk just - It was like a suction,” his mother Cindy White told NBC New York. “Like a sinkhole. He just went down.”
After he fell through the sinkhole, bystanders tried to check on Shoulders by asking him to wave and scream as others called for help. He did the former, but refused to do the latter because he didn’t want to do anything that would provoke the pit of rats that he found himself in.
“He was like, ‘Ma, the rats down there were ridiculous.’ He was like, ‘they were like so big.’ He was scared to yell out because he thought they were gonna go in his mouth,” White said about her son, who she described as being “traumatized.”
Witnesses told CBS New York that it took about 30 minutes for the firefighters to rescue Shoulders, who was taken across the street to Saint Barnabas to treat his injuries. His brother Greg White said, per the New York Daily News, that Shoulders suffered a broken arm and leg, as well as a scraped face.
The Department of Buildings determined that the sinkhole was the result of a building’s cellar located under the sidewalk being in a state of disrepair.