Fans of America’s favorite sports car should probably avert their eyes.
The National Corvette Museum -- which watched eight Chevy Corvettes fall into a sinkhole estimated to be 30 feet deep Wednesday morning -- has released a pair of videos showing new details of the incident.
The first is footage from a security camera from within the Skydome on the museum’s property. The building housed between 25 and 30 rare Corvettes, including the eight that were swallowed by the 40-foot-wide sinkhole.
On the tape, the entire floor can be seen shuddering, before a section below two of the cars eventually drops out entirely, dragging the unfortunate pair of Corvettes with it. The footage cuts off before the rest of the sinkhole collapses.
The second video is from the back of a drone sent to the scene by nearby Western Kentucky University’s engineering department. The footage is being used by engineers to assess the stability of the ground throughout the rest of the museum’s property.
In this footage, five of the eight cars can be seen in various states of damage, while the remaining three are buried out of sight. Most recognizable is the newest of the eight that fell, a 2009 ZR1 "Blue Devil" show car. General Motors donated the car to the museum on a long-term loan, as it’s the first version of this high-performance Corvette that GM ever built.
GM also had lent the museum a 1993 ZR-1 concept design study, and a spokesman for the automaker estimated that each of the cars could be worth as much as $1 million.
The other cars that fell into the hole were all owned by the museum, having been donated by collectors. These included a black 1962 Corvette, a 1984 custom pace car from the IndyCar World Series, the 1 millionth Corvette and 1.5 millionth Corvette ever built, a 1993 Ruby Red 40th anniversary Corvette and a 2001 Mallett Hammer Z06 Corvette.
The museum is in the process of reaching out to the people who donated the cars. "This is going to be devastating to them," said Wendell Strode, executive director of the museum.
Despite the widespread damage to the cars and building, no one was hurt in the incident, which ground sensors recorded at 5:44 a.m. The full extent of the destruction won’t be known for several days. This means the mood has been grim for employees of the museum, which attracts about 150,000 visitors annually.
"It’s not looking good," Strode said of the fate of the cars. "There were a lot of tears this morning as [employees] were having to deal with what’s in there."
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