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Man trapped in massive Tampa sinkhole under his home (VIDEO)


A man inspects a sinkhole formed in a house in Guatemala City on July 19, 2011.


Johan Ordonez

A 36-year-old Tampa, Florida man has been trapped in a yawning sinkhole, after it suddenly opened under the room where he had been sleeping.

The man's brother managed to escape the sinkhole but wasn't able to pull his sibling out of danger, wrote Tampa Bay Online, which noted that the sinkhole was about 30 feet across, and perhaps stretching 100 feet beneath the surface.

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The incident occurred around 11 p.m., wrote the Associated Press, when the man's brother heard screaming coming from the bedroom.

"When he got there, there was no bedroom left," Hillsborough County Fire Rescue spokeswoman Jessica Damico told the AP. "There was no furniture. All he saw was a piece of the mattress sticking up."

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Damico noted that the entire home was located on the sinkhole, and neighbors have been evacuated.

It remains unclear if the man is alive or not, although listening devices and cameras have been placed in the hole, wrote CBS.

"We put engineering equipment into the sinkhole and didn't see anything compatible with life," said Damico, who wouldn't say if the man was alive or dead, noted Tampa Bay Online.

Sinkholes are a risk in Florida, a low-lying state composed largely of karst, which is especially prone to collapsing into sinkholes according to the Florida Geological Survey.

"Typically, it is only when a road or house happens to be located above developing karst features such as a sinkhole that headlines are made," says the FGS.

"Since much of Florida is karstic in nature, these same processes are continually taking place. As such, there is a certain degree of risk in living on karst. However, most people accept the risk as one price to pay for living in the sunshine state."