Florida man swallowed by sinkhole

Jeremy Bush places flower and stuff toy after rescuers abandoned

A sorrowful Jeremy offers flowers to unfortunate brother Jeff

This bizarre event happened in Seffner, Hillsborough County, Florida on the night of Thursday, February 28, 2013 about 11: 00 p.m. in the home of the Bush family.

Seffner is a suburb of 8,000 people 15 miles east of downtown Tampa

As everybody in their one-story home in Seffner was going to bed, a bizarre happening caught them by surprise.

There was a deafening sound. It was caused by a sinkhole which opened up beneath Jeff Bush’s bedroom, swallowing him up.

“I ran toward my brother’s bedroom because I heard my brother scream,” Jeremy Bush told CNN.

But Jeremy found everything gone.  His brother’s bed, dresser, TV , etc. were gone.  His brother Jeff, 37, was nowhere to be found.

He did his utmost to rescue his brother, by shoveling at the rubble until police arrived and pulled him out, saying the floor was still collapsing.

Through tears he said that he couldn’t get him out and could hear him calling for help.

Jeremy Bush and four other people, including a 2-year-old child, were not injured.

As the sinkhole continued to deepen Friday, nearby homes on both sides of the Bush residence were emptied of dwellers as a precaution.

The sinkhole endangered a house next door to the Bush home, fire department spokesman Ronnie Rivera said. That home wasn’t damaged as of Saturday morning, but the occupants there were given 30 minutes to take out personal items before leaving their houses, he said.

The sinkhole is about 20 feet to 30 feet across and may be 30 feet deep, said the president of an engineering company Bill Bracken.  He was assisting emergency workers.

The hole was originally reported to be 100 feet across, but that is the diameter of the safety zone surrounding it, Bracken said

The sinkhole originates in the bedroom, and has been expanding outward and taking the house with it as it opens up, he said.

Engineers are hoping sophisticated equipment can be used to get a clear   image of the sinkhole.

Outside their home Friday, members of the family stood waiting for news.

Jeremy prayed for an air pocket in there, but believed nobody can’t survive  in a hole like that.  There was too much dirt and stuff.  He moaned for Jeff his brother.  He said he loved Jeff.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection said the state lies on bedrock of limestone and other carbonate rock that can be eaten away by acidic groundwater, that collapse when it can no longer hold the weight of what’s above it.  No wonder sinkholes are common in Florida.

A place called “sinkhole alley” is responsible for 2/3s of sinkhole related insurance claims in Florida, according to a Senate Insurance and Banking Committee report.  Hillsborough County is part of that place.  ABC reported that since 1954 Hillsborough has had more than 500 sinkholes,

But administrator for Hillsborough County Mike Merrill, said Friday, the sinkhole that opened up under the Bush home was not a typical sinkhole.

As yet they could not determine the boundaries of the underground chasm so they’re very deliberate, Merrill said. They’re frustrated but pursuing it as quickly and safely as they can.

Jeremy Bush can do nothing but wait — wait for word from Florida’s authorities about the recovery of his brother’s body.

The effort to seek the body of Jeff’s body resumed Saturday after authorities cancelled operation.  They said the hole is still getting bigger and bigger and the house could collapse at any time.

By Friday the hole is still too dangerous, Hillsborough County Fire Chief Ron Rogers said.

Rogers said they can’t do anything but sit and wait; they’re handicapped and paralyzed and don’t know the safe place to bring their equipment.  He said the situation is tough and even tougher for the family, he told reporter.

Source:  Family waits for word of Florida man swallowed by sinkhole

Engineers marked danger area covered by Feb. 28, 2013 sinkhole

 

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