Eight cars were swallowed by a sinkhole at the National Corvette Museum on Wednesday morning.

Museum officials said their security company called them at 5:44 a.m. Wednesday about motion detectors going off inside the Skydome area.

Bowling Green fire officials estimated the size of the sinkhole being 40 feet across and 25 to 30 feet deep.

The museum said no one was in or around the museum at the time of the collapse.

The eight cars affected by the sinkhole include a 1993 ZR-1 Spyder on loan from General Motors, a 2009 ZR1 "Blue Devil" on loan from General Motors, 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.

A structural engineer was at the museum Wednesday to assess the damage and stability of the surrounding areas.

The Skydome exhibit area is a separate structure attached to the main museum building.

In a press conference Thursday, Chevrolet announced they'd be lending their tech resources to overseeing restoration of the damaged Corvettes. Construction officials said it'll take two to three weeks of stabilization work before the cars can be removed from the sinkhole and taken to Detroit for repairs. Museum officials are hoping to have repairs completed by the museum's 20th anniversary celebration in August.

"Got a call about 7:30 this morning that said a sinkhole has developed in the museum and my car might have been swallowed," said Corvette owner Chance Mayfield. "I said, 'You're kidding!'"

Urgent for answers at the National Corvette Museum, Mayfield said he's not sure whether he's a very lucky or very unlucky man.

"I'm going in to check it out and just hope it survived," said Mayfield.

In 1970, his 1965 Corvette Roadster was stolen in downtown Nashville only to be recovered in Arizona 39 years later. With its history, Mayfield named his pride and joy Boomerang. He waited at the museum Wednesday to see if he had lost Boomerang again.

"Who would've thought with it being on loan here and it being the Corvette Museum, it'd develop a sinkhole?" asked Mayfield.

"When I found out this morning, I was devastated," said Katie Frassinelli of the National Corvette Museum. "It's just such an unfortunate loss for the museum and the Bowling Green community and the Corvette world."

Finally, a very anxious Mayfield was given a list of the cars that fell into the sinkhole. Boomerang was safe, leaving Mayfield to only hope his luck had changed.

"I feel better now, yeah, knowing it's not in the sinkhole," said Mayfield. "It's a survivor."

Instructors with Western Kentucky University told Channel 4 sinkholes aren't rare in the area considering soil conditions and the underground cave system.

Officials with the Corvette Museum added they're fortunate they didn't lose the world's only 1983 Corvette, which was also in that room. That Corvette has been safely removed and is in perfect condition. They said that's good news as they consider the car priceless.

Copyright 2014 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


Multimedia Producer

Multimedia Journalist

Forrest Sanders is an award-winning reporter, videographer and editor at News4.

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