LITTLE ROCK – Eight state senators are missing after a large sinkhole opened up on the State Capitol grounds Tuesday morning.
Capitol police and rescue crews are searching the 600+ foot deep crater for senators Missy Irvin, Jim Hendren, Alan Clark, Cecile Bledsoe, Bart Hester, Bryan King, Gary Stubblefield, and John Cooper.
The eight were conducting an interview with local news station Fox16 about Senator Jane English’s vote change to support the private option when the sinkhole opened.
“We had them setup outside the Capitol for the interview. It scared me to death, I was just a few feet away from going down with them,” reporter David Goins tells us. “Senator Irvin began telling me how she prayed a lot about the decision to oppose the private option, then all of a sudden all eight of them were gone.”
This is the latest in a number sinkholes to open around the country recently. Last week a large sinkhole opened inside the Corvette museum in Kentucky, destroying a number of prized cars.
This is the first major sinkhole found in Little Rock. State geological experts were immediately called in to test the surrounding Capitol grounds for evidence of any further sinkhole activity.
“We are obviously very early into our tests of the area,” state geologist John Shaw tells us. “However we have found evidence of at least one other potential sinkhole which appears to be immediately under the parking spot for Senator Jason Rapert.”
Rescue workers believe the eight missing Senators are still alive. Governor Mike Beebe has requested that all rescue attempts be held until after a vote is taken on the private option funding bill.