Sinkhole that swallowed Fla. man 'unstable'

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Associated Press

Posted on March 1, 2013 at 8:00 PM

SEFFNER, Fla. (AP) — Florida authorities say a sinkhole that has swallowed the bedroom of Tampa-area house with a man in it is likely to grow.

The soil around the house is very soft. The hole, now about 25 feet deep and 30 feet across, opened in seconds last night under Jeff Bush's bedroom. A dresser and the TV set vanished down the hole, along with most of Bush's bed. He's presumed dead. Officials lowered equipment into the sinkhole and saw no signs of life.

Jeremy Bush says he jumped in the hole but couldn't find his brother. Four others in the house weren't injured. They said it sounded like a car had crashed into the house.

A county administrator says the home is "seriously unstable." No one can go in the home because officials are afraid of another collapse and losing more lives.

Florida is highly prone to sinkholes because there are caverns below ground of limestone, a porous rock that easily dissolves in water. A 1981 sinkhole near Orlando grew to 400 feet across and devoured five sports cars, most of two businesses, a three-bedroom house and the deep end of an Olympic-size swimming pool.

Sound:

%@AP Links

267-a-10-(Chief Ron Rogers, Hillsborough County Fire-Rescue, at news conference)-"ground since then"-Hillsborough County Fire-Rescue Chief Ron Rogers says the property remains dangerously unstable. (1 Mar 2013)

<<CUT *267 (03/01/13)>> 00:10 "ground since then"

266-a-10-(Chief Ron Rogers, Hillsborough County Fire-Rescue, at news conference)-"get in there (2nd reference)"-Hillsborough County Fire-Rescue Chief Ron Rogers says they're relying on structural engineers to help determine when it's safe for rescuers to try to find the missing occupant. (1 Mar 2013)

<<CUT *266 (03/01/13)>> 00:10 "get in there (2nd reference)"

268-a-12-(Chief Ron Rogers, Hillsborough County Fire-Rescue, at news conference)-"for the family"-Hillsborough County Fire-Rescue Chief Ron Rogers says the property is so unstable, rescue crews can't do anything for the missing man right now. (1 Mar 2013)

<<CUT *268 (03/01/13)>> 00:12 "for the family"

269-a-07-(Larry Madrid, president of Madrid Engineering, at news conference)-"continue to grow"-Larry Madrid, an engineer who's assisting emergency officials, says the soil around the sinkhole will continue to collapse. (1 Mar 2013)

<<CUT *269 (03/01/13)>> 00:07 "continue to grow"

264-a-12-(Bill Bracken, president, Bracken Engineering, at news conference)-"type of vibration"-Bill Bracken, a structural engineer who's assisting emergency crews, says because the property is so unstable, emergency crews cannot perform recovery efforts for the missing man. (1 Mar 2013)

<<CUT *264 (03/01/13)>> 00:12 "type of vibration"

265-a-11-(Bill Bracken, president of Bracken Engineering, at news conference)-"collapsed by now"-Bill Bracken, a structural engineer who's assisting emergency crews, says the sinkhole is unstable and will continue to grow, likely consuming the entire house. (1 Mar 2013)

<<CUT *265 (03/01/13)>> 00:11 "collapsed by now"

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