by CHRISTINE ABRAHAM Photographer
Thirty-six-year-old Jeffrey Bush was killed on Friday, March 8 when a sinkhole opened beneath his home and swallowed him.
Authorities describe the sinkhole as “seriously unstable” and will probably keep growing.
Bush was last heard screaming as the 20-foot-deep by 20-foot-wide sinkhole opened underneath the bedroom at his family’s home in Tampa on Thursday. The ongoing search for him continued into Friday.
“I couldn’t get him out,” said Jeremy Bush, the brother of Jeffrey. “All I thought I could hear was him screaming for me and hollering for me, but I couldn’t do nothing.”
Officials have said that the sinkhole is possibly still growing; therefore, they evacuated all the residents around the area.
“It’s scary that something like that can happen at whatever time. You never know what life will throw at you next,” said sophomore Jaclynn Baird.
Engineers used three dimensional photos of the soil and other data to find a way to stop the hole from spreading.
The land around the hole’s “safety zone” was considered unstable and extended 100 feet by Friday, said Bill Bracken, the president of an engineering firm that was called in to assist.
The interior of the house was swallowed by the sinkhole; however, it left the exterior suprisingly intact. A small corner of a bed’s box spring was hanging outside of the hole. Cables from a television led down to the hole, although the TV set and dresser were nowhere to be found.
Looking for Bush, officials dropped down equipment for signs of life, but unfortunately, there were not any.
At the time of the sinkhole, six people were in the house. All but Jeffrey Bush escaped.
“They heard a sound they described as a car crash emanating from the bedroom,” Hillsborough County Fire Chief Ron Rogers said. “They rushed in. All they could see was part of a mattress sticking out of the hole. Essentially, the floor of the room had opened.”
Jeremy Bush was almost swallowed by the hole, but was rescued once Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Deputy Douglas Duvall arrived at the scene.
“It’s a horrible tragedy that a life was lost by mother nature,” said sophomore Rachel Fawzy.
Although they do not always cause injury or any disruptions, sinkholes are quite common in the state of Florida.
Officials were not sure whether the neighborhood had problems before, but apparently, it seems that there had to be issues since at least two companies in Seffner advertise their expertise in “sinkhole repair.”
“Florida sits on a system of caverns filled with water,” Rogers said. “As that water moves up and down, it erodes those caverns, and from time to time they collapse.”