SEFFNER, Fla.— A Florida man was swallowed by a sinkhole which pulled in his bedroom, furniture, and bed with a crash that sounded like a car hitting the house.
Jeffrey Bush, 37 screamed for help but was lost even though his brother Jeremy Bush, 35 bravely jumped into the sinkhole to try to save him. Jeremy continued to frantically work in the collapsing hole until he was ordered out by Sheriff’s deputies.
Sinkholes are common in Florida, however they usually occur slowly. The only warning given to this time was the sudden collapse of the bedroom floor. Already the hole is 30 feet deep and 30 feet across below the house, but 100 feet across at the bottom. The exterior of the house looks absolutely perfect, but is certain to be eaten as the sinkhole collapses.
“All I could see was the tops of his bed,” Jeremy said. “So I jumped in the hole and tried digging him out. I thought I could hear him screaming for me and hollering for me, but they couldn’t do nothing.”
“All they could see was a part of a mattress sticking out of the hole,” said Hillsborough County Fire Rescue Chief Ron Rogers. “Essentially the floor of that room had opened up.”
“I feel in my heart he didn’t make it,” Jeremy Bush, 35, told Tampa TV station WFTS. “There were six of us in the house, five got out.”
Authorities lowered cameras and microphones into the hole hoping to find signs of life. They did not. Eventually, they had to get back because of the danger of a cave in.
Florida sinkholes are caused by groundwater creating caverns. The state’s biggest sinkhole occurred in 1994 when a 15 story deep sinkhole opened up in a phosphate mine near Tampa.
It is unusual for sinkholes to claim victims, but Thursday’s occurrence in Seffner came without warning.