(Reuters) - Twelve vehicles were swallowed when a 400-foot-long section of an outdoor parking lot caved in outside a Mississippi pancake house that had only been open for a few days, the Meridian Star newspaper reported, citing local officials.
The crater that opened up on Saturday night beneath the parking lot of an IHOP restaurant in Meridian consumed cars, trucks and SUVs as the surface dropped about 15 feet, the newspaper said, quoting Meridian Public Safety Director Buck Roberts.
No one was injured in the incident, the newspaper said.
Gwendolyn Fikes told the paper that a Honda Accord owned by her daughter was one of the vehicles that fell into the void. Fikes said she and her daughter were inside the restaurant when the parking lot opened up.
"We'd been in there about three minutes," Fikes was quoted as saying. "Then everything went black and we heard a boom."
It was not clear what caused the cave-in, Roberts told the newspaper, saying engineers and contractors would be on site on Monday to investigate.
The newspaper said the area that sank was near a storm drain that empties into a local creek. It quoted an official as saying that rain may have been a factor.
(Reporting by Sharon Bernstein in Sacramento, Calif.; Editing by Peter Cooney)