Florida Couple Drives 13 Hours to See Their Corvette in Sinkhole

By: Kristin Martin
By: Kristin Martin

"And they had just brought it out from storage to the center of the Sky Dome rotunda about six weeks ago."

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- A sinkhole swallowed eight unique Corvettes at the National Corvette Museum on Wednesday.

This weekend, a couple from Florida drove up to Bowling Green to see the giant hole that has their special car.

"You could see three Corvettes initially vanish and then that cut the power, and as that cut the power, one of those cameras was focused right on our car. So we said, 'No, it didn't happen.' So we figure, power line was cut, someone ran in, stole it and drove off. So we'll find it, and uh, no, that was not the case," said Kevin Helmintoller.

They drove 13 hours from Tampa hoping for closure, but they couldn't even see their car. It's the deepest inside the hole.

"You can't really get that closure until you actually see it, and I think that's going to be the hardest part is seeing it in the hole and then them pulling it out with all the dirt and debris on top of it," said Linda, Kevin's wife.

They're not too optimistic that it can be restored.

"It was heavily modified. It had a mallet conversion. It had anti-venom conversion. So it was unique in that sense. You can't really restore it to a stock condition," Kevin explained.

While they knew the situation could have been much worse if people were inside, losing their 2001 Corvette was like losing family.

"People say it's just a car. They don't understand," Kevin said.

He had a lot of memories with it, and it was the only Corvette his father had ever driven.

One of the worst parts? They hadn't even seen it on display themselves. They had just donated it around Thanksgiving.

"And they had just brought it out from storage to the center of the Sky Dome rotunda about six weeks ago."

Now, it's the first time since 1996 that he hasn't had a Corvette, but he says he'll be back in January to pick up a new one.

The director of the museum says the cars will be pulled out within the next couple weeks.

Chevrolet will oversee the restoration of all eight cars.

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