The Washington Post

Sinkhole swallows cars at Corvette museum in Kentucky

An enormous sinkhole opened in the floor of the National Corvette Museum in Kentucky on Wednesday morning, swallowing several of the iconic muscle cars.

The sinkhole apparently began to open before 5:45 a.m., when there was no one inside the museum in Bowling Green, according to a statement posted on the museum’s Web site.

The museum said it was alerted to the sinkhole by an alarm company. Firefighters arrived to find a hole 40 feet wide and 25 to 30 feet deep, which had opened up in a large display area called the Sky Dome.

Photos from the scene showed at least two cars in the hole. In all, the museum said, eight Corvettes were affected — six owned by the museum and two that were on loan from General Motors. The GM plant that makes Corvettes is across the street from the museum.

The damaged cars included a 1962 model, a 1994 car listed as “PPG Pace Car,” a 1992 model that was the 1 millionth Corvette made, and a 2009 model that was Corvette number 1,500,000. Also damaged were a 1993 “40th Anniversary Corvette,” a 2001 Mallett Hammer Z06 model, a 1993 ZR-1 Spyder and a 2009 ZR1 “Blue Devil.”

The museum did not release a cost estimate of the damage Wednesday.

Bowling Green is in western Kentucky, an area with geology — full of karst — that has created an abundance of caves, springs and sinkholes.

Photos of the sinkhole were quickly disseminated on social media and television Wednesday morning, stunning Corvette enthusiasts.

“By golly, I’m looking at a picture now. Look at how deep it is. . . . Unbelievable. Ugh,” said Gary Mortimer, founder of the National Corvette Restorers Society, in a telephone interview with The Washington Post. He said many of the museums’ cars are the only ones of their kind left and would be difficult to replace.

David A. Fahrenthold covers Congress for the Washington Post. He has been at the Post since 2000, and previously covered (in order) the D.C. police, New England, and the environment.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Get Zika news by email

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Show Comments
The South Carolina GOP primary and the Nevada Democratic caucuses are next on Feb. 20. Get caught up on the race.
Past South Carolina GOP primary winners
South Carolina polling averages
Donald Trump leads in the first state in the South to vote, where he faces rivals Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.
South Carolina polling averages
The S.C. Democratic primary is Feb. 27. Clinton has a significant lead in the state, whose primary falls one week after the party's Nevada caucuses.
62% 33%
We'll have half a million voters in South Carolina. I can shake a lot of hands, but I can't shake that many.
Sen. Marco Rubio, speaking to a group of reporters about his strategy to regain support after a poor performance in the last debate
Fact Checker
Sanders’s claim that Clinton objected to meeting with ‘our enemies’
Sanders said that Clinton was critical of Obama in 2008 for suggesting meeting with Iran. In fact, Clinton and Obama differed over whether to set preconditions, not about meeting with enemies. Once in office, Obama followed the course suggested by Clinton, abandoning an earlier position as unrealistic.
Pinocchio Pinocchio Pinocchio
The complicated upcoming voting schedule
Feb. 20

Democrats caucus in Nevada; Republicans hold a primary in South Carolina.

Feb. 23

Republicans caucus in Nevada.

Feb. 27

Democrats hold a primary in South Carolina.

Upcoming debates
Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Feb. 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

March 3: GOP debate

on Fox News, in Detroit, Mich.

Campaign 2016
Where the race stands

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.