Engineers planned to resume their work at a Florida sinkhole at daylight today to do more tests on the unstable and dangerous ground that swallowed a man in his bedroom.
They have already determined that the soil in the slowly growing sinkhole around the home is very soft and believe the entire house could eventually be devoured.
Jeff Bush, 37, was presumed dead yesterday after the earth opened under his bedroom, swallowing him up like something out of a horror tale.
About the only thing left was the TV cable running down into the hole.
Sinkholes are a hazard so common in Florida that state law requires home insurers to provide coverage against the danger.
The sinkhole, estimated at 6 metres across and 6 metres deep, caused the home’s concrete floor to cave in Thursday as everyone in the Tampa-area house was turning in for the night.
It gave way with a loud crash that sounded like a car hitting the house and brought Bush’s brother running.
Jeremy Bush said he jumped into the hole but couldn’t see his brother and had to be rescued himself by a sheriff’s deputy who reached out and pulled him to safety as the ground crumbled around him.
“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 on Friday in a neighbour’s yard.
“But I just couldn’t do nothing.”
He added: “I could swear I heard him hollering my name to help him.”
Officials lowered equipment into the sinkhole and saw no signs of life, said Hillsborough County Fire Rescue spokeswoman Jessica Damico.
A dresser and the TV set had vanished down the hole, along with most of Bush’s bed.
“All I could see was the cable wire running from the TV going down into the hole. I saw a corner of the bed and a corner of the box spring and the frame of the bed,” Jeremy Bush said.
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 122 metres 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.
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