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Man disappears into sinkhole that opened under his bedroom

Source : AP
Last Updated: Fri, Mar 01, 2013 18:33 hrs

Seffner, Florida: A Florida man screamed for help and disappeared as a large sinkhole opened under his bedroom, his brother said on Friday. No signs of life had been found.

Jeremy Bush heard a loud crash and screaming. He said it took him seconds to get to his brother Jeff's room near midnight on Thursday, but the earth had already swallowed him.

Jeremy Bush said he jumped into the hole and was quickly covered in dirt. An arriving law enforcement officer pulled him to safety.



"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."

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

"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.

Damico estimated that the sinkhole was about 30 feet (9 meters) across.

"The entire house is on the sinkhole," Damico said.

Sinkholes are common in seaside Florida, whose underlying limestone and dolomite can be worn away by water and chemicals, then collapse. Authorities on Friday said they used equipment especially for such situations that can detect sounds as faint as a mouse running over a floor.

But the equipment detected nothing from the missing man.

Janell Wheeler told the Tampa Bay Times newspaper she was inside the house with four other adults and a child when the sinkhole opened.

"It sounded like a car hit my house," she said.

Wheeler's house was condemned. The rest of the family went to a hotel but she stayed behind, sleeping in her car.

"I just want my nephew," she said through tears.

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