#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 8°C Tuesday 7 December 2021
Advertisement

Man swallowed by sinkhole under bedroom

The Florida man was feared dead after the floor gave away last night.

An engineer stands in front of a home where sinkhole opened up
An engineer stands in front of a home where sinkhole opened up
Image: AP Photo/Chris O'Meara

A HUGE SINKHOLE about 30 feet across opened up under a man’s bedroom and swallowed him, taking all of the furniture too.

Jeff Bush, 37, was feared dead after the floor gave way last night. As he screamed for help, his brother Jeremy Bush jumped into the hole to try to help, but couldn’t see him and had to be rescued himself. With the earth still crumbling, a sheriff’s deputy reached out his hand and pulled Jeremy Bush, 36, to safety.

“The floor was still giving in and the dirt was still going down, but I didn’t care. I wanted to save my brother,” Jeremy Bush said through tears Friday as he stood in a neighbor’s yard.

But I just couldn’t do nothing.

Jeremy Bush, brother of Jeff Bush, breaks down as he speaks to the media about attempting to rescue Jeff as he disappeared in a sinkhole.
(AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

The only thing sticking out of the hole was a small corner of a bed’s box spring. Cables from a television led down into the hole, but the TV set, along with a dresser, was nowhere to be seen.

Officials lowered equipment into the sinkhole but didn’t see any sign of life.

Jeremy Bush said it took him only seconds to get to his brother’s room about 11pm on Thursday. He had just knocked on his brother’s bedroom door, telling him they weren’t working Friday. The brothers were employed by the Transportation Department and picked up trash along interstates and roads.

“I went in my bedroom, heard a loud crash, ran in that direction,” he said.

I was getting ready to run into the room and I almost fell into the hole. I jumped into the hole and started digging for him. I started screaming for him.

Engineers worked to determine the size of the sinkhole. At the surface, officials estimated it was about 30 feet across. Below the surface, officials believed it was 100 feet wide.

The state is especially prone to sinkholes because underneath the ground is limestone, a porous rock that easily dissolves in water, sometimes forming a hole in the earth.

From the outside of the small, sky blue house, nothing appeared wrong. There wear no cracks and the only sign something was amiss was the yellow caution tape circling the house.

There were six people at the home when it collapsed, including Jeremy Bush’s wife and his 2-year-old daughter.

“It was something you would see in a movie. You wouldn’t, in your wildest dreams, you wouldn’t think anything like that could happen, especially here,” he said.

Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Deputy Douglas Duvall rescued Jeremy Bush. “I reached down and was able to actually able to get him by his hand and pull him out of the hole. The hole was collapsing. At that time, we left the house,” Duvall said.

Sheriff’s office spokesman Larry McKinnon said authorities asked sinkhole and engineering experts to help with the recovery effort, and they were using equipment to see if the ground can support the weight of heavy machinery that was needed.

“We put engineering equipment into the sinkhole and didn’t see anything compatible with life,” Hillsborough County Fire Rescue spokeswoman Jessica Damico said. “The entire house is on the sinkhole.”

Neighbours on both sides of the home have been evacuated.

Read: In pictures: Van trapped after road suddenly caves in>

About the author:

Associated Press

Read next:

COMMENTS (49)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel