A large sinkhole has opened up at a fast-food restaurant car park in Meridian, Mississippi, swallowing up to15 cars, according to Local TV station KSLA. Witnesses at the scene heard a series of booming sounds just before the power cut out in the IHOP restaurant, which had only recently been built.

When they walked out of the building, they saw a 50ft (15m) wide and 600ft (183m) long sinkhole where their parked cars were meant to be. A few witnesses at the scene said that they believed a water line ruptured as well, which left nearby hotels without water.

Emergency services were on the scene at around 7.15pm (local time) on Saturday. No one was hurt at the incident, KSLA reported. "We received a call earlier this evening of a sinkhole opening up at the new IHOP restaurant," Meridian Fire Department Chief Battalion Wayne Cook told local TV news channel WTOK. "Upon arrival, we found multiple vehicles in the ditch. At this time, we are trying to stabilize this and keep everyone away."

The cause of the sinkhole has yet to be determined, but the area has endured heavy rainfalls, with almost 10in of rain in two weeks. Aaron Morrison, a weather reporter for WTOK, posted images of the sinkhole on social media showing a number of cars buried in a chasm, with a grey vehicle teetering on the edge of the sinkhole.