Search called off for man swallowed up by sinkhole

Search called off for man swallowed up by sinkhole

MIAMI - Agence France-Presse
Search called off for man swallowed up by sinkhole

Police tape surrounds a home where a sinkhole opened up and swallowed a man in Seffner, Florida. Rescues are unable to make contact with the man. ABACAPRESS photo

Rescue workers announced March 2 that they have halted their search for the body of a man whose bedroom was swallowed up by a sinkhole in a Florida town.

The hole opened up in the Tampa suburb of Seffner Feb. 28, shattering the concrete slab on which Jeff Bush’s four-bedroom home rested. Rescuers were unable to make contact with Bush, who was presumed dead.

“At this point, it’s really not possible to recover the body,” Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill told reporters.

Authorities feared that the hole was still unstable and could grow.

“It’s very deep. Very wide. Very unstable. And that’s why I said that any further demolition can’t even take place on the site,” Merrill added of the hole about eight meters wide at the top but far deeper. “This is a very unusual situation.”

Bush’s brother Jeremy had thrown himself into the hole and started digging desperately after the victim was swallowed up, but heard nothing and found no one.

Emergency workers whisked away Jeremy Bush after arriving on the scene and closed off the area out of fear that more of the home could be sucked into the hole. Authorities have evacuated the neighborhood as a precautionary measure.

Sinkholes are common in Florida, a state where much property sits on porous limestone that sometimes suddenly dissolves beneath a layer of clay.