UK & World News
Sinkhole Swallows Up Man At Florida Home
A man in Florida has been swallowed up by a sinkhole measuring 6 metres (20 feet) across that opened up under his bedroom.
Jeff Bush was trapped under rubble after the home in Brandon, east of Tampa Bay, began to collapse into the 6m deep hole on Thursday night.
Hillsborough County Fire Rescue officials told reporters the 36-year-old missing man was now presumed to have died.
"It's not confirmed, but I think it's safe to presume," spokeswoman Jessica Damico told reporters.
By Friday evening rescue workers had backed off their efforts with fears mounting that the sinkhole could expand further and endanger more lives.
There were five adults and one child inside the house at the time of the collapse.
The victim's brother, Jerry Bush, tried unsuccessfully to pull him from the sinkhole after hearing a loud crash at around 11pm and screams for help.
"I know in my heart, he's dead," he told CNN.
"I heard a loud crash like a car coming through the house and I heard my brother screaming," he explained.
"All I seen was this big hole, real big hole and all I seen was his mattress."
He jumped into the hole and started digging.
"I couldn't find him. I thought I could hear him holler for me to help him," he said.
The brother then had to be rescued by a sheriff's deputy.
"I went into the bedroom and I saw the sinkhole in the entire bedroom," Deputy Douglas Duvall said.
"I saw the family member inside the hole who was trying to get the victim out. I reached out and was able to grab his hand and pull him out of the hole."
Engineers determined the sinkhole extends for 15 metres in both directions from the central point in the bedroom.
But it is not visible above ground except from inside the house.
Overnight the home became too unstable to continue rescue efforts. People living in neighbouring homes were also evacuated.
Authorities said they used equipment that can detect sounds as faint as a mouse running over a floor in an attempt to find the missing man, but nothing was detected.
Sinkholes are common in seaside Florida, where underlying limestone and dolomite can be worn away by water and chemicals, leading to a collapse.
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