Wednesday morning a 40-foot sinkhole in Kentucky swallowed eight Corvette’s at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green.
It happened just before 5:30 a.m. CST, the sinkhole had started to form, and by 5:44 a.m. motion detectors started going off, the museum said. No one was in or around the museum at the time, said executive director Wendell Strode.
Using remote-controlled drones, geologists and engineers from nearby Western Kentucky University explored the sinkhole and determined that the Sky Dome building did not sustain any structural damage.
“The ground beneath Bowling Green and the surrounding region is permeated by caves, sinking streams and spring,” James Currens, a hydrologist with the Kentucky Geological Survey said.
“There’s a good chance that there’s a cave that the soil below the building was eroding into,” he explained. “Looser soils can be carried away by precipitation into caves, leaving a void where once there was solid ground.”
The damaged portion of the museum will be closed indefinitely, but the rest of the facility will be open as usual on Thursday, said museum spokeswoman Katie Frassinelli.
The museum issued a statement that said six of the damaged cars were owned by the museum and two — a 1993 ZR-1 Spyder and a 2009 ZR1 Blue Devil — were on loan from General Motors.
“We’re just tickled that no one was hurt; that thing was deep,” Greg Wallace, manager of the General Motors Heritage Center in Sterling Heights, Michigan, said in a telephone interview with NY Times. “We really don’t know yet what the value of the cars is, but we’ll fix them up and you’ll never know they were damaged.”
The other cars damaged were a 1962 black Corvette, a 1984 PPG Pace Car, a 1992 White 1 Millionth Corvette, a 1993 Ruby Red 40th Anniversary Corvette, a 2001 Mallett Hammer Z06 Corvette, and a 2009 white 1.5 Millionth Corvette, the museum said.
The museum has insurance coverage for the damage to the cars and the structure, said Strode. The total value of the damaged cars is substantial, added Strode.
“Almost all the cars have been removed from the room. They’ve been setting up ramps to get the last one out,” said Frassinelli. That remaining Corvette is suspended in a precarious position on a riser directly above the sinkhole.
Corvette Museum Sinkhole Security Camera Footage
Video footage from the National Corvette Museum security cameras showing the sinkhole collapse in the Skydome.
Corvette Museum Sinkhole
Surveillance video shows a gaping sinkhole emerge beneath the National Corvette Museum in Kentucky swallowing prized cars like they were toys.
National Corvette Museum Giant Sinkhole Swallows 8 Cars
Eight Corvettes were swallowed up by a sinkhole inside the National Corvette Museum.