TOKYO (TR) – Murky, foul-smelling water suddenly flooded an underground mall inside JR Shinjuku Station on Wednesday as stunned visitors watched retail workers scramble to save merchandise.
Blackish grey water inundated Shinjuku Subnade at around 4 p.m., mostly in the central area lined with clothing stores near the men’s restroom, Nikkan Sports reports (July 20).
The company that manages Subnade rushed to drain the sludge-like water of unknown origin and disinfect and deodorize the area.
Visitors were reportedly able to resume shopping by 6 p.m. Cleaners left few signs the event ever happened, save for foul-smelling garbage bags filled with items that were tainted by the water.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government is investigating the cause of the flooding. TBS News reported that Tokyo police and fire department officials are also lending support.
“There’s lots of clothing shops here,” a mall official said, “so we’re hoping to disinfect and deodorize the place even if we have to work all night.”
A mall official told Nikkan Sports the flooding was “not caused by a pump in our facility breaking and spreading dirty water.”
“I’ve never seen so much dirty water go everywhere like that,” the official said.
‘Sludge flooded out’
Some shops were still cleaning by 7 p.m., but most stores were back in business amid summer sale season.
A worker at an affected retail shop said the tainted water “flooded the area and the smell was unbearable.”
A witness told TBS News the water “smelled terrible, like sewage. A door banged open and sludge flooded out.”
Witnesses quickly turned to Twitter, which was inundated with photos and videos of the darkish water.
A person at the scene posted a brief clip showing pools of dark water steadily creeping across the floor as a stunned crowd looked on. The witness later tweeted about his failed attempts to gain money from TV networks that were hoping to use the footage.
Another witness tweeted photos of murky water flooding the area as workers tried to contain the mess.