'NOT A SINKHOLE': Earth swallows 15 cars in one perfect gulp in pancake house's first week

A pancake house in the US state of Mississippi had an opening week to remember after the earth opened up and swallowed 15 cars from its carpark.

Incredibly, no one was hurt after customers in the International House of Pancakes in the town of Meridian heard a “boom” and rushed outside to see this:

But Meridian public safety director Buck Roberts told The Meridian Star that it was not a sinkhole.

“You can call it what you want, a cave-in or whatever, but it is not a sinkhole,” Roberts said.

Sinkhole generally open up when underground water dries or disappears and leaves a void in the ground.

The hole measured 15 metres across and sheared off the entire length of the IHOP’s 180m long parking lot.

Some cars were buried nine metres down. Patrol lieutenant Rita Jack told NBC News there could be more.

“When we arrived on scene, 14 to 15 vehicles that we could see had fallen roughly (9 metres) 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.”

Here’s another view from “Lieutenant Somebody’s” drone:

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