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article imageMan devastated after rescuers end search for brother in sinkhole

By Yukio Strachan     Mar 2, 2013 in Environment
Seffner - A Florida man is grieving tonight as rescue workers on Saturday called off the effort to recover the body of his 36-year-old brother swallowed into a sinkhole while he slept Thursday night.
“Unfortunately we have not been able to determine the whereabouts of Mr. Bush,” Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill said Saturday, according to NBC. “With all the equipment that we brought in and specialized help, we have just not been able to locate Mr. Bush, and so for that reason the rescue effort is being discontinued.”
"The listening devices are designed to essentially hear the sound a mouse would make walking across the floor. They're that sensitive. They did not detect any signs of life," said Hillsborough County Fire Chief Ron Rogers.
Merrill believes the demolition process will likely begin Sunday morning, WFLA reported. They will be bringing heavy equipment to help with demolition, to reach in and take portions of the house out.
“We’re dealing with a very unusual sinkhole,” Merrill said. “It’s very deep, it’s very wide, it’s very unstable.”
The hole took the entire bedroom
From the outside, there appeared to be nothing wrong with the four-bedroom, concrete-wall structure, built in 1974.
But at about 11 p.m. ET Thursday night in Seffner — a suburb of 8,000 people 15 miles east of downtown Tampa — a sinkhole, estimated at 20 feet across and 20 feet deep, caused the home's concrete floor to cave in, taking Bush and everything else in his bedroom deep into the earth.
"They heard a sound what sounded like a car crash," said the Hillsborough County Fire Chief, describing the what brought Bush's brother running his brother's room.
Jeff Bush's brother, 35-year-old Jeremy Bush, said he jumped into the hole to try to rescue his brother, NBC news writes.
"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 Friday in a neighbor's yard. "But I just couldn't do nothing."
"I could swear I heard him hollering my name to help him," Jeremy Bush added.
But he had to be rescued himself, Tampa's Tbo.com noted.
Deputy Duvall with HCSO, the first responder on scene, saved him, WFLA reported.
When Duvall entered Jeff Bush's bedroom, Reuters stated, all he saw was a widening chasm but no sign of Jeff.
"The hole took the entire bedroom," said Duvall. "You could see the bedframe, the dresser, everything was sinking," he said.
A massive sinkhole appeared under this Florida home.
A massive sinkhole appeared under this Florida home.
Screen Capture
While some in the neighborhood did not know of the risks, sinkholes are common in Florida, the Associated Press reported, and home insurers are required by law to provide coverage for the sudden disaster.
Jeremy Bush came to the house this morning with flowers and a plush toy. He put them in front of the house, WFLA writes.
"I thank the Lord for not taking my daughter and the rest of my family," Jeremy said on Saturday, Tampa's WFLA reported.
Six people were at the home at the time, including Jeremy Bush's wife and his 2-year-old daughter. They escaped unharmed.
Another sad twist in all of this: On "CBS This Morning: Saturday," Grayson Kamm of CBS affiliate WTSP-TV in Tampa, Fla., reported that Bush was not planning to stay in the house with his relatives for long, just a few months.
He was planning to move into his own place — on Saturday.
If you would like to send message of condolences or donations to the affected families of the sinkhole in Seffner, Fl., fire officials announced they had set up an email address, accessible at firefighter-relief.
More about Jeffrey Bush, Jeremy Bush, tampa sinkhole, Natural disasters
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