A cave-in of a restaurant parking lot in Mississippi swallowed 12 cars and now experts are expected to begin work Monday to determine the cause of the weekend collapse, authorities said.
No one was reported injured when the pavement gave way Saturday night, leaving a long gash in the ground into which the vehicles tumbled.
Speaking for the fire department, Jim Stockton says first responders first made sure no one was caught in the cave-in.
“In the beginning they called us not knowing, you know, about any injuries or if anybody was trapped inside.”
Meridian Public Safety Director Buck Roberts told The Meridian Star that the collapse was not the result of a sinkhole, which is generally caused when an underground water aquifer dries and leaves a void in the ground.
“You can call it what you want, a cave-in or whatever, but it is not a sinkhole,” Roberts said.
“There’s a large drain pipe or culvert beneath the parking lot of the IHOP. Apparently it collapsed, causing the ground to give way,” said Stockton.
Roberts said engineers and contractors would be on the scene Monday studying the site.
Emergency crews were called to the IHOP restaurant in Meridian on Saturday evening and found a section of parking lot about 35 feet wide and 400 feet long had collapsed. Cars, trucks and sport utility vehicles had dropped into the gash in the earth, which appeared to be about 15 feet deep.