Florida sinkhole: 36-year-old man swallowed up in sinkhole presumed dead

Sinkhole is currently 30 feet wide, 20 feet deep

SEFFNER, Fla. - Authorities say a 36-year-old Florida man remains trapped under rubble from a sinkhole that collapsed the bedroom portion of his home.

Hillsborough County Fire Rescue officials say the victim, Jeff Bush, is presumed dead.

The collapse happened around 11 p.m. Thursday night at Bush's home in Seffner.

At the time of the collapse, Jeff Bush woke his brother, Jeremy Bush, as he yelled for help.

Jeremy Bush tried to pull the victim from the hole, but he could not get Jeff out.

"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," Jeremy Bush said.

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

The first Hillsborough County deputy on scene, Deputy Douglas Duval, was able to safely pull the brother from the still collapsing hole. Neither the brother nor the deputy were injured.

"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.

It is unsafe for rescue crews to conduct any type of search, as the sinkhole is continuing to expand. Currently the sinkhole is approximately 30 feet wide and 20 feet deep with the unsafe zone extending 100 feet wide. The open hole is taking up most of the interior of the home.

Listening devices and cameras have been placed inside the hole, but so far there has been no contact with the victim.  No sounds have been heard.

"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."

Crews report they can hear sounds of continuous collapse and fear the home could completely collapse at any time.

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.

Bracken Engineering has condemned the house, located at 240 Faithway Drive, on an emergency basis. They determined that the bedroom area is the center of the sinkhole.  Neighbors living on both sides of the house have been evacuated as a precaution.

Print this article Back to Top

Comments