Friday, March 01, 2013

Updated: YIKES! Video: Florida Man And His Entire Bedroom Sucked Up By 100 Foot Wide Sinkhole While Sleeping

Originally posted at Pat Dollard:
Scary stuff….pray they find him alive, so far there have been no signs of life, but engineers will be using monitoring equipment to try and find him. Four adults, a child and two dogs were also in the home at the time!

Jimmy Bush was rescued while attempting to pull his brother, Jeffrey, from a sinkhole in Seffner, Fla.(Photo: WTSP)
USA Today:  
A Florida man is presumed dead Friday after the bedroom in which he was sleeping suddenly collapsed into a 30-foot wide sinkhole and swallowed up the entire room, including furniture, local emergency officials said.

The victim, Jeffrey Bush, 37, screamed for help when the house began to collapse around 11 p.m. EST on Thursday.  His brother, Jeremy, rushed into the room and tried to locate his brother, but had to be rescued himself by a Hillsborough deputy summoned by 911. 

“It swallowed his whole bedroom, his dresser — everything in his room is gone,” said a distraught Jeremy. 

“All I could see was the tops of his bed,” he 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.” 

Deputy Douglas Duvall said “the sinkhole was taking the whole bedroom” when he arrived and saw Jeffrey down in the hole struggling to find his brother. 

“I reached him and actually got him by his hand and pulled him out of the hole,” Duvall told WTSP. “The hole was collapsing.” 

Rescue teams, unable to stay inside the unstable structure, lowered a microphone and video equipment into the hole but have not heard from the victim. 

“We put engineering equipment into the sinkhole and didn’t see anything compatible with life,” Hillsborough County Fire Rescue spokeswoman Jessica Damico said. 

Houses on both sides of the damaged structure have also been evacuated. 

Damico said that at the surface the sinkhole is about 30 feet across but officials say the sinkhole spreads to about 100 feet across below the surface.[and 50 feet deep]
Read more…   
MAP: Florida’s sinkholes

It is unsafe for rescue crews to conduct any type of search as the sinkhole is continuing to expand. Currently the sinkhole is approximately 100 feet wide and 50 feet deep.

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

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

The house has been condemned on an emergency basis. Engineers determined that the bedroom area is the center of the sinkhole.

UPDATE 2: Florida authorities hold news conference to discuss latest on sinkhole situation
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Jeff Bush
Jeff Bush
Swallowed By Sinkhole 

RT @littlebytesnews: #breaking #news Florida sinkhole where man was lost is called a ‘chasm,’ expected to grow -

Excerpted TBO:

SEFFNER –Officials at the Seffner home where a sinkhole swallowed a man late Thursday call it a “chasm” and say it will continue to grow.

At a news conference this evening, Hillsborough County sheriff’s Deputy Douglas Duvall, the first emergency responder on the scene, said he didn’t know what to expect when he entered the house. Inside, he found the entire bedroom floor had collapsed, and Jeremy Bush was in a hole 10 feet deep, trying to climb out. Duvall managed to pull Bush out.

Engineer Larry Madrid called the situation “unprecedented” and that the edges of the hole are very steep and very unstable, which means it is likely to continue to expand.

Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill said until the safe edges of the sinkhole are found, rescue efforts are paralyzed because they can’t put heavy equipment on the scene.

“This is no ordinary sinkhole,” he said. “This is a chasm.”

He said he understood that the family would like rescue efforts to proceed as quickly as possible, but he said that the only thing that would be worse than what they’re going through would be an additional loss of life in the rescue effort.

Jeremy Bush said he doesn’t believe 36-year-old Jeffrey Bush survived the partial collapse of the family’s home.

“I feel in my heart he didn’t make it,” Jeremy Bush said. “There were six of us in the house; five got out.”

Authorities were using ground penetrating radar today to find signs of life inside the hole, which opened up about 11 p.m. inside the house at 240 Faithway Drive.

Mobile command units, fire rescue crews, and Bracken Engineering are at the site, checking the stability of the ground and determining when it will be safe to begin rescue/recovery efforts, officials said this afternoon.

The exterior walls of the home remain intact but the hole inside, about 20 feet wide and 20 feet deep, continues to grow, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said at a morning news conference. Crews are examining the ground about 100 feet from the house, cutting a section of side fence to allow equipment onto the property and to determine if the ground is stable.

The American Red Cross is on hand to distribute water to neighbors who have been displaced during the ongoing operations, which officials say will be an all-day process, and Faithway Drive is closed to traffic.

Jeremy Bush, 37, said he had just returned home from a trip to Hardee’s restaurant with his girlfriend, Rachel Wicker, and their daughter, Hanna, 2, when the hole opened up under his brother’s bedroom with the sound of a car crash.

He said he believes he heard his brother scream and jumped in the hole trying to save him. Deputies arrived to find Jeremy Bush up to his neck in dirt and had to rescue him.

Also making the escape from the house were Norman Wicker, 48, and his sister, Janell Wicker.

Family members told officials there was no previous evidence of sinkhole activity on the interior or exterior of the home.

Neighbor Al Boggs said at the scene that about 10 years ago, another house in the neighborhood had a problem with a sinkhole that required 13 truckloads of cement and mortar to settle.

“It was crazy,” Boggs said. “They came in, drilled holes and pumped in the mortar. I’ve had some cracks in my house but I never thought it was that big a deal.”

From the street, the front of the house looked intact, showing no sign there had been a collapse except for the crews from Hillsborough County Fire Rescue, the sheriff’s office and code enforcement.

One man was boring into the driveway with an industrial drill; yellow power cords crisscrossed the front yard, leading from the house and from houses next door. A generator was in place, too.

The collapse occurred in a neighborhood of tract homes, many built in the early 1970s. The house where the collapse occurred is a four-bedroom, two-bath masonry structure of about 1,600 square feet, built in 1974, according to the Hillsborough County Property Appraiser website.

The house has a market value of about $68,000, according to the website.

Search and Recovery Video:

UPDATE 3/2/2013:

Fox News:
Experts spent the previous day on the property, taking soil samples and running various tests -- while acknowledging that the entire lot where Bush lay entombed was dangerous. No one was allowed in the home.

"I cannot tell you why it has not collapsed yet," Bill Bracken, the owner of an engineering company called to assess the sinkhole, said of the home. He described the earth below as a "very large, very fluid mass."

Even the slighest vibration, he said, could trigger a massive collapse, making it impossible for now to recover Bush's body.

"This is actually unprecedented," said engineer Larry Madrid, who estimated the hole to be 20 to 30 feet in diameter. Madrid said, it started at 15 feet, then sunk to 25 feet.

"We've determined that there was an initial collapse, followed very shortly by another collapse and we have noticed movement in the ground since then," Madrid said.

The hole is deepening and as the steep walls of unstable, soft and sandy soil continue to collapse, the entire house may be swallowed up.
"Given the size of the hole, I cannot tell you why it has not collapsed yet," said Bracken.

Rescue crews have been using equipment sensitive enough to hear a mouse walk across the floor, but have heard nothing.

"My heart goes out to the family," said Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill, who added they are doing everything they possibly can, but this is not your typical sinkhole.

It's a honeycomb of a chasm. Neighbors close by have been evacuated.
"The only thing that would be worse, than what they're feeling now for their loss, would be to experience additional human loss," said Merrill.

"He's in the Lord's hands," said Bush's grandfather Buddy Wicker, who owns the home. "He's in God's hands. That's all I can say. He's in God's hands."

Florida is highly prone to sinkholes because there are caverns below ground of limestone, a porous rock that easily dissolves in water.

A sinkhole near Orlando grew to 400 feet across in 1981 and devoured five sports cars, most of two businesses, a three-bedroom house and the deep end of an Olympic-size swimming pool.

More than 500 sinkholes have been reported in Hillsborough County alone since the government started keeping track in 1954, according to the state's environmental agency.

Engineers said they may have to demolish the small house, even though from the outside there appeared to be nothing wrong with the four-bedroom, concrete-wall structure, built in 1974.

Jeremy Bush said someone came out to the home a couple of months ago to check for sinkholes and other things, apparently for insurance purposes.
"He said there was nothing wrong with the house. Nothing. And a couple of months later, my brother dies. In a sinkhole," Bush said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Tragic situation...I will continue to update this post as time permits, and/or until Jeff Bush's body is recovered. Please keep him and his family in your thoughts and prayers.

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