8 Corvettes swallowed by sinkhole; new dramatic video released


by WHAS11 editors/Associated Press/Brooke Hasch


Posted on February 12, 2014 at 9:52 AM

Updated Thursday, Feb 13 at 12:41 AM

National Corvette Museum

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. --  Eight Corvettes at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green are gone after a sinkhole opened under the Skydome portion of the facility Wednesday morning.

PHOTOS of cars in sinkhole

According to a news release, the museum's security company alerted officials around 5:44 a.m. Wednesday when movement in the Skydome set off motion detectors.

Museum officials said when the arrived at the building they discovered the sinkhole and the Bowling Green Fire Department secured the area.

The release stated the following cars were affected:  

  • 1993 ZR-1 Spyder on loan from General Motors
  • 2009 ZR1 “Blue Devil” on loan from General Motors

The other six vehicles were owned by the National Corvette Museum including:

  • 1962 Black Corvette
  • 1984 PPG Pace Car
  • 1992 White 1 Millionth Corvette
  • 1993 Ruby Red 40th Anniversary Corvette
  • 2001 Mallett Hammer Z06 Corvette
  • 2009 White 1.5 Millionth Corvette

Bowling Green city spokeswoman Kim Lancaster  said information was still being gathered about what exactly happened, but it appeared to be the first problem of its kind at the property.

"There's been tears shed here this morning," Wendell Strobe, the museum's executive director said.

Bowling Green sits in the midst of the state's largest karst region — the Western Pennyroyal area, where many of Kentucky's longest and deepest caves run underground. A karst display distinctive surface features, including sinkholes.

"The magnitude of it is in the large scale," Matt Dettman, a civil engineering professor at WKU said.

Dettman spent the day on site, with local geologists and students in training, capturing video of the sinkhole from a drone.

"It's undermining the support system of the structure," Dettman said.

"A lot of times, it comes from rainfall," Jason Polk, a WKU geology professor said, while describing the cause of natural sinkholes.

Gary Dempze was one of the many visitors Wednesday who were able to view only the Corvettes inside the main lobby.

"The ones that fell in the sinkhole were specialty Corvettes. These are great, but you can replace them. But the cars in the sinkhole are irreplaceable," Dempze said.

The National Corvette Museum will reopen Thursday, with the exception of the Skydome.

No injuries were reported.

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