Saturday, March 2, 2013

Fla. man presumed dead in quick-forming sinkhole


From the outside, nothing appears wrong with the house in Seffner, Fla., where a man is presumed dead in a sinkhole. Engineers were taking soil samples and testing ground stability Friday. Florida Sinkhole: Crater 'Seriously Unstable' A safety cordon is put up around a home in Florida amid fears a sinkhole that swallowed a man could get larger. A sinkhole that swallowed a man in Florida when it opened up in his bedroom is "seriously unstable" and likely to grow, officials have warned. No one is being allowed inside the home where Jeff Bush is thought to have died, because authorities fear more lives could be lost. Hillsborough County administrator Mike Merrill described the hole as "seriously unstable" after engineers said the soil around the house was very soft and could suffer another collapse. He said: "This is no ordinary sinkhole.This is a chasm." Five other people were at the home when the bedroom floor began to fall through into the 15m-deep hole on Friday, but no one else was injured. Hillsborough County Fire Rescue officials said the 37-year-old missing man was now presumed to have died. SEFFNER, Fla. — 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 was feared dead after the floor gave way Thursday 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 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.” 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 11 p.m. 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. 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. From the outside of the small, sky blue house, nothing appeared wrong. There were 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 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.” Neighbors on both sides of the home have been evacuated. A Florida man has disappeared into a 20ft-deep (6m) sinkhole that swallowed up a bedroom in his house. Jeffrey Bush, 36, is presumed dead after rescue crews failed to make contact with him. Officials in the town near Tampa have postponed further rescue efforts until they determine how much of the ground under the house is compromised. Sinkholes are common in certain parts of Florida, Hillsborough County's fire chief said. "Florida essentially sits on a system of caverns," Chief Ron Rogers said, saying water erosion in the caverns causes them to collapse and sinkholes to form on the surface. The sinkhole is currently 30ft wide and 20ft deep, but officials have established a 100ft-wide safety zone, fearing the top of the sinkhole is growing. Continue reading the main story “ Start Quote All they could see was a part of a mattress sticking out of the hole” Ron Rogers Hillsborough County fire chief "We don't know how stable the house is," Chief Rogers said, adding that additional parts of the home began to collapse into the ground while rescuers were inside. Jeffrey Bush's brother Jeremy told rescue crews he heard a loud crash near midnight on Thursday, then his brother screaming for help. He said he jumped into the hole but couldn't see his brother. "The floor was still giving in and the dirt was still going down, but I didn't care. I wanted to save my brother,'' he said, choking back tears outside a neighbour's house. A Florida man has disappeared into a 20ft-deep (6m) sinkhole that swallowed up a bedroom in his house. Jeffrey Bush, 36, is presumed dead after rescue crews failed to make contact with him. Officials in the town near Tampa have postponed further rescue efforts until they determine how much of the ground under the house is compromised. Sinkholes are common in certain parts of Florida, Hillsborough County's fire chief said. "Florida essentially sits on a system of caverns," Chief Ron Rogers said, saying water erosion in the caverns causes them to collapse and sinkholes to form on the surface. The sinkhole is currently 30ft wide and 20ft deep, but officials have established a 100ft-wide safety zone, fearing the top of the sinkhole is growing. Continue reading the main story “ Start Quote All they could see was a part of a mattress sticking out of the hole” Ron Rogers Hillsborough County fire chief "We don't know how stable the house is," Chief Rogers said, adding that additional parts of the home began to collapse into the ground while rescuers were inside. Jeffrey Bush's brother Jeremy told rescue crews he heard a loud crash near midnight on Thursday, then his brother screaming for help. He said he jumped into the hole but couldn't see his brother. "The floor was still giving in and the dirt was still going down, but I didn't care. I wanted to save my brother,'' he said, choking back tears outside a neighbour's house.

sharing