In 2013 A Sinkhole Swallowed A Man’s Bedroom As He Slept. No Trace Of Him Has Been Found.

A distressing story has resurfaced on various news outlets over the last few days, concerning a man who was swallowed up by a sinkhole in Florida on March 1, 2013. 

Jeff Bush, 37, was asleep when a sinkhole opened up beneath his home in Seffner, Florida. The hole – about 6 meters (20 feet) across and deep, according to The Guardian – opened up beneath his bedroom, which was heard by his brother Jeremy, and Jeremy’s partner Rachel from another room.

“We heard Jeff scream,” Rachel told ABC Action News at the time. “We ran down the hallway, I flicked the light on and we opened up the door and it’s all we’ve seen was a big old hole, and Jeff was gone.”

Jeremy jumped down into the hole to attempt to rescue his brother but had to be pulled to safety by a Hillsborough County deputy sheriff as the ground around him continued to cave in.

“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 told The Guardian. “But I just couldn’t do nothing.”

 “I could swear I heard him hollering my name to help him.”

                              

Rescuers were unable to locate Bush’s body from the sinkhole, which swallowed bedroom furniture along with him. The following day, engineers determined that the house and ground were too dangerous to make further attempts at rescue, and it was instead demolished and the hole itself filled with gravel. A few years later, the sinkhole opened once more at the site, now fenced off from the public.

Florida, rich in limestone, is especially susceptible to sinkholes.

“Sinkholes are most common in what geologists call, ‘karst terrain’,” the US Geological Survey explains. “These are regions where the types of rock below the land surface can naturally be dissolved by groundwater circulating through them. Soluble rocks include salt beds and domes, gypsum, limestone and other carbonate rock.”

With the rock underneath dissolved away, underground caverns are left underneath the surface. When the weakened surface collapses into the cavern, it creates a sinkhole. They vary in size, from very small to the huge one seen at Xiaozhai Tiankeng, known as the Xiaozhai Heavenly Pit. The sinkhole, thought to be the largest in the world, measures around 537 meters (1,762 feet) wide and 662 meters (1,667-2,172 feet) deep.

An earlier version of this article was published in April 2023.

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