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'I couldn't get him' -- sinkhole swallows brother

florida bedroom gone neighbors evacuated recovery mission

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#1 Hum


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Posted 01 March 2013 - 17:23

A Florida man screamed for help and disappeared as a large sinkhole opened under the bedroom of a house, his brother said Friday.

The brother told rescue crews he heard a loud crash near midnight Thursday, then heard his brother screaming.

"When he got there, there was no bedroom left," Hillsborough County Fire Rescue spokeswoman Jessica Damico said.

"There was no furniture. All he saw was a piece of the mattress sticking up," Damico said.

There's been no contact with the 36-year-old man identified as Jeff Bush, since then and neighbors on both sides of the Seffner home have been evacuated.

Fire and rescue officials say there "are no signs of life" from Bush, and say it's a recovery mission, not a rescue effort.

"We put engineering equipment into the sinkhole and didn't see anything compatible with life," Damico said. But Damico would not say that the man is presumed dead.

"We heard a loud crash. I ran in there and heard somebody screaming, my brother screaming, and I ran all in there," Jeremy Bush, the victim's brother.

A deputy jumped in to pull Jeremy out, possibly saving his life.

"I went into the bedroom and I saw the sinkhole in the entire bedroom," Deputy Douglas Duvall told MyFoxTampaBay.com. "I saw the family member inside the hole who was trying to get the victim out. I reached out and was able to grab his hand and pull him out of the hole."

"I couldn't get myself out," Jeremy Bush said. "The cop had to get me out."

Officials said the hole was about 30 feet in width and 20 feet deep.

Crews haven't been able to get close because the sinkhole continues to grow, and it's too dangerous.

Rescuers tried to send a camera and listening device into the hole but it was swallowed up.

"Right now, the potential for a collapse is very, very high," Damico said.

A total of five adults, one child and two dogs were in the home.


#2 COKid


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Posted 01 March 2013 - 17:29

Tough way to go. RIP, dude.

#3 Dane


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Posted 01 March 2013 - 17:36

If its 20ft down how can they not find him?

#4 Detection


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Posted 01 March 2013 - 17:39

20ft deep is survivable if he's not crushed by the rest of caving in

#5 Anibal P

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 17:43

If its 20ft down how can they not find him?

CNN reported the hole was 100ft deep, someone's got the wrong info

Plus even if 20ft deep, all the rubble of the house fell on top of him, it would be a very risky corpse recovery at this time

#6 OP Hum


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Posted 01 March 2013 - 17:45

I'd be moving out of this neighborhood.

#7 shakey


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Posted 01 March 2013 - 17:58

Horrible way to go. Not only could you be crushed, there is also the very probable fact that one could be alive down there, only to die because as you breath, the dirt would slowly keep colapsing in on you, making it impossible to breath after a bit.

#8 BillyJack



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Posted 01 March 2013 - 18:59

That sucks. I live in Florida near the coast. I think I rather face a tornado than a sinkhole.

#9 +warwagon


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Posted 01 March 2013 - 19:12

#10 Growled


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Posted 02 March 2013 - 04:22

That's just terrible. I doubt they ever find anyone alive.

#11 OP Hum


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Posted 02 March 2013 - 14:37

Sinkholes are so common in Florida that state law requires home insurers to provide coverage against the danger. While some cars, homes and other buildings have been devoured, it's extremely rare for them to swallow a person.

Florida is highly prone to sinkholes because there are caverns below ground of limestone, a porous rock that easily dissolves in water.

"You can almost envision a piece of Swiss cheese," Taylor Yarkosky, a sinkhole expert from Brooksville, Fla., said while gesturing to the ground and the sky blue home where the earth opened in Seffner. "Any house in Florida could be in that same situation."


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#12 +zhiVago


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Posted 02 March 2013 - 18:41

Maybe if the houses weren't made entirely from chips and drywall and had a real concrete foundation, they could withstand this better.

#13 OP Hum


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Posted 03 March 2013 - 01:47

Shame they can't find these 'holes' in the cheese, and fill them in with something hard and rubbery, to make the surface stable.

#14 vetDirtyLarry



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Posted 03 March 2013 - 01:48

Saw this story on CNN the other day while in the break room at work. Really is a nightmare come true. One minute your sleeping, next minute you are just plunging into the earth. Honestly a truly horrible way to go. Just awful.

#15 Gabe3


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Posted 03 March 2013 - 02:09

I heard about this story, kinda makes me nervous that I live in florida. I wonder if you can get someone to come out and take x-rays of the ground or something to check for this every few years at your house.