A man is missing, presumed dead, after a 30 foot sinkhole opened up under his bedroom in the middle of the night.
Jeff Bush screamed for help then disappeared, his brother Jerry told rescue crews in Tampa. The incident occurred at around 11pm on Thursday in a suburb of Tampa when, the brother told the reporter, he heard a large crash, then his brother’s cries.
“I heard a loud crash like a car coming through the house and I heard my brother screaming,” Jerry Bush, said. He managed to get into his 36-year-old brother’s room and was shocked by what he saw
“All I seen was this big hole, real big hole and all I seen was his mattress.”
Bush 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 added: “I know in my heart, he’s dead.”
The brother then had to be rescued by a sheriff's deputy, Douglas Duvall.
"When he (Duvall) went into the bedroom and saw the person in there, without thinking of his own safety he got down on his hands and knees, reached down because the subject was struggling to get out of the hole," Hillsborough County Lt Donald Morris told WTSP.
"He managed to get him out of the sinkhole before it took him away as well."
Emergency crews also had to abandon further attempts to reach the missing man as the sinkhole was too dangerous to enter. They were able to lower engineering equipment into the hole - which cannot be seen from the house, but which is estimated to be up to 30 feet across - but there was still no sign of life, the spokesman said.
Janell Wheeler told the Tampa Bay Times newspaper she was inside the house with four other adults and a child when the sinkhole opened.
"It sounded like a car hit my house," she said.
"I just want my nephew," she added through tears.
Neighbours on either side of the house have been evacuated and the building itself has been condemned. “The entire house is on the sinkhole,” the fire spokesman said.