Florida Man And His Bedroom Are Swallowed By Sinkhole

Hillsborough County in Florida is no stranger to sinkholes, but locals were shocked when a man and his entire bedroom were swallowed into the ground.  Engineers have been trying to determine what caused the hole in the ground, and also why the rest of the home hasn’t been swallowed up yet.

The sinkhole swallowed Jeff Bush and his bedroom late at night on February 28.  Jeff’s brother Jeremy and his family were also in the home, and Jeremy dove into the hole to try to rescue his brother.

“I was getting ready to run into the room and I almost fell into the hole. I jumped into the hole and started digging for him. I started screaming for him.”

Engineers estimate the sinkhole is at least 10 metres deep, which is why Jeremy was unable to find his brother.  Police arrived on the scene and pulled Jeremy out of the sinkhole and began their own rescue efforts.  As time went on, the family and the authorities were losing hope that Jeff was still alive.

Hillsborough County has reported over 500 sinkholes in the community since Florida began tracking the events in 1954.  Sinkholes are common across Florida due to what engineers describe as limestone below the ground that over time is likely to dissolve into water. 

Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill says that since sinkholes are common across Florida, home insurance companies are legally obligated to include sinkhole coverage in their policies.  Engineers are attempting to stabilize the ground surrounding the Bush home to prevent the rest of the property from coming down. Merrill says the sinkhole is posing challenges to engineers and insurers on the scene.

However, Jeremy is furious with Merrill, the county, and especially their home insurance company.  He says an insurer was at the property last year to check for potential sinkholes for insurance purposes.

“He said there was nothing wrong with the house.  Nothing.  And a couple of months later, my brother dies.  In a sinkhole.”