Bronx Man Hospitalized After Plunging Into Sinkhole Filled with Rats: 'He Couldn't Move'
"He didn’t scream, because he didn’t want the rats going into his mouth," the victim's brother said
A Bronx man was hospitalized this week after he fell 15 feet through a sinkhole, leaving him in a pit filled with rats, according to reports.
Leonard Shoulders was waiting for a bus on 3rd Avenue in the Bronx Saturday when the sidewalk caved in and sucked him into the ground, NBC News reported.
"He went down feet first," Cindy White, Shoulders' mother, told the outlet. "He was just standing and the sidewalk just — it was like a suction. Like a sinkhole. He just went down.”
Shoulders, 33, was stuck inside the rat-infested hole for about 30 minutes until firefighters were able to pull him out.
According to CW affiliate WPIX, first responders cut through a metal security gate and were able to get to Shoulders from the basement of a nearby dentist office.
They immediately took him to St. Barnabas Hospital across the street where he was treated for head and arm injuries, according to The New York Times.
Greg White, Shoulders' brother, told the New York Daily News that "rats were crawling all over [Shoulders]" and he "couldn't move."
"He didn't scream, because he didn't want the rats going into his mouth," he added.
In a surveillance video published by WCBS, Shoulders is seen waiting by a building before taking a step forward and falling into the ground after the sidewalk collapses.
Shoulders' mother told NBC News her son was "traumatized" by the event.
"He said he was just falling, falling. But the debris was falling and hitting him in the head," she said.
According to the Times, Shoulders remained hospitalized as of Thursday.
"It was like a one out of million chance of that happening," Greg told CBS New York. "I was shocked. I was surprised. But you know, he's breathing."
After the incident, the Department of Buildings said that the sidewalk was in "a state of disrepair" and ordered the building next to it to vacate as a safety precaution.
The owner of the five-story building next to the hole was also ordered to immediately set up a fence around the sidewalk.
The Times reported that the building was mostly empty except for a dentist's office operating on the ground floor.
"We need to be inspecting our sidewalks," John Sanchez, district manager for Community Board 6 in the Bronx, told the Times. "What happened was unacceptable."