Sinkhole At Kentucky Corvette Museum Devours Eight Cars, No One Hurt [Photos]

A sinkhole at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky devoured eight cars early Wednesday morning. Fortunately, no one was in the museum when the 40 foot wide gulf developed underneath the museum’s famous Sky Dome. Authorities believe the sinkhole began to develop around 5:30 am and continued to expand, eventually setting off the alarm system.

“As it started happening, it triggered an alarm, so the security company called an employee,” Museum Executive Director Wendell Strode said.

The sinkhole swallowed up eight different Corvettes. Six of the cars are owned by the museum and two are owned by General Motors. General Motors builds their famous Corvette in Bowling Green and the location for the National Museum is based on that relationship. Now all eight cars sit in a 20 foot deep sinkhole, waiting to be extracted.

One rare and unique car managed to be saved. A 1983 Corvette was allowed to be pulled out of the Sky Dome by museum workers. Other than that, everything else inside the building is waiting until researchers can assess the danger developing underneath the car museum. Because the Sky Dome is set off by itself, patrons are allowed to visit the other parts. For now, the iconic building remains closed to the public.

The sinkhole devoured 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, all owned by the National Corvette Museum. The two General Motors owned vehicles were a 993 ZR-1 Spyder and a 2009 ZR1 Blue Devil. No damage total had been released as of Wednesday morning. Insurance will play a big factor, although some of the vehicles will be very difficult to replace.

While most of the country may not think of Kentucky when they hear the word “sinkhole“, the reality is that Bowling Green sits in the middle of karst country. Karst topography is a geological phenomenon that occurs when underground caverns are formed from flowing water. Unseen from the surface, karst topography can be extremely dangerous in causing sinkholes. Researchers from the University of Western Kentucky are coming to the National Corvette Museum to help plan for the removal of the vehicles.

“Before we do anything, like remove the other cars, we want that assessment so we know if there’s been any structural damage to the Sky Dome,” Strode said

The sinkhole comes at a bad time for the National Corvette Museum in Kentucky as this fall they are hosting thousands of auto fans for the 2014 Corvette Caravan to celebrate their 20th anniversary.

[Photo Via JaseMan on Flickr Creative Commons]