A Florida man screamed for help and disappeared as a large sinkhole opened under his bedroom, his brother said on Friday. No signs of life have been found. Jeff Bush, 37, was presumed dead on Friday, the victim of a sinkhole a hazard so common in Florida that state law requires home insurers to provide coverage against the danger. The sinkhole, estimated at 20 feet (6 metres) across and 20 feet deep, caused the home’s concrete floor to cave in on 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. Officials lowered equipment into the sinkhole and saw no signs of life. Engineers said they may have to demolish the house, even though from the outside there appeared to be nothing wrong with the four-bedroom, concrete-wall structure, built in 1974.
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 400 feet across in 1981 and claimed 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, according to the state’s environmental agency. – Miami herald