Gigantic Sinkhole Swallows 15 Cars In Mississippi IHOP Parking Lot

November 8, 2015 Updated: November 8, 2015

A 30-feet-wide sinkhole opened up at an IHOP parking lot in Meridian, Mississippi, swallowing up at least 15 vehicles. Police said the cause of the sinkhole is unknown.

As the sinkhole opened up, customers at the IHOP said they heard several loud noises before the electricity went out, according to local station WTOK-TV. At first, they believed it was an earthquake, but when they went outside, they saw their cars inside the giant sinkhole. The hole was hundreds of feet in length and several feet deep.

“We received a call earlier this evening of a sinkhole opening up at the new IHOP restaurant,” Meridian Fire Department Chief Battalion Wayne Cook was quoted as saying. “Upon arrival, we found multiple vehicles in the ditch. At this time, we are trying to stabilize this and keep everyone away.”

Patrol Lieutenant Rita Jack with Meridian Police told NBC News: “When we arrived on scene, 14 to 15 vehicles that we could see had fallen roughly 30 feet into the ground. We expect that there may be more and that they may fall further into the ground because there is only mud underneath.”

It’s unclear what caused the incident, but the city experienced at least 3 inches of rain over the weekend. Around 10 inches fell in the past two weeks.

“As far as the investigation side of it, that’s going to be everybody who is involved with this,” Cook also said.

Officials said they would start moving the cars over the next week.

“The sinkhole is huge,” added Jack. “If you imagine a football field cut in half, it is every bit of 50 feet wide and about 100 – 125 feet wide. We are talking 14 to 15 vehicles. It is very scary. We are so fortunate that no injuries were sustained. We are gonna keep it under observation until we know that it is clear and safe.”