The good news is that no one was hurt. That being said, this was a loss that, for some hardcore Corvette enthusiasts, might be a bit hard to swallow.
At around 5:30 a.m. on Wednesday, a massive 40-foot-wide sinkhole opened up immediately beneath the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, swallowing eight rare Corvettes in the process. The extent of the damage is still somewhat unclear, but there is a tally of the vehicles affected by the event.
The sinkhole ate up a 1962 black Corvette, a 1984 PPG pace car, a 1992 white Corvette that was the one millionth made, a 1993 ruby red 40th-anniversary Corvette, a 1993 ZR-1 Spyder on loan from General Motors (NYSE:GM), a 2001 Mallett Hammer Z06 Corvette, a 2009 white Corvette (this was the 1.5 millionth made), and the 2009 ZR1 “Blue Devil,” also on loan from General Motors.
It’s estimated that the hole is 25 to 30 feet deep; the museum is, naturally, closed for the day, at least while officials decide how to go about possibly retrieving the vehicles and repairing the extensive damage.
Given the geology of the area, which is full of karst — a landscape made up of soluble rock, like limestone — sinkholes aren’t uncommon there. Nonetheless, a structural engineer had been called in to assess the situation, the Wall Street Journal reports.
“It is with heavy hearts that we report that eight Corvettes were affected by this incident,” the museum said in a statement. It was alerted to the issue after an alarm went off as a result of the collapse.
“I was stunned,” Butch Hume, president of Louisville’s Falls City Corvette Club, told the Detroit Free Press. “That just doesn’t happen in Kentucky and what a terrible place for it to happen.”
Emergency workers allowed museum personnel to remove one car from the scene, a 1983 Corvette prototype — an exceedingly rare model, as no production ‘Vettes were made for that year. It did not fall into the pit, thankfully. Furthermore, the collapse has not seemed to affect the nearby Bowling Green Corvette plant, where many of the vehicles are made.
Corvette enthusiasts from around the country have started to offer assistance, with some auto shops pledging to help find original replacement parts for the damaged cars. Check out the video below, which shows the collapse as it was caught on security footage.