Rescue "no longer possible" for man swallowed up by Tampa sinkhole


Police tape surrounds the house of Jeff Bush, who was consumed by a sinkhole while lying in his bed last night, March 1, 2013 in Seffner, Florida. First responders were not able to reach Bush after he disappeared and now say it is a recovery mission.


Edward Linsmier

The 36-year-old Florida man who was swallowed up by a still-growing sinkhole while he slept on Feb 28 is presumed to be dead, and authorities plan to demolish his former house.

Authorities deemed Jeff Bush's body "impossible to recover" in a CBS News segment, and that the sinkhole will have to be his final resting place until the land stabilizes.

Read more from GlobalPost: Florida sinkhole threatens neighbors, victim likely dead (VIDEO)

"We can no longer sustain the rescue effort," said Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill to the Tampa Bay Times.

"At this point, we have to move beyond the rescue to a demolition phase and securing the site."

Authorities dropped a camera and a small microphone into the hole, but could detect no signs of life from Bush. They will attempt to save as many of the family's belonging as they can, added the Times.

"They say it keeps getting bigger and I don't think they're going to find him," said Jeff's distraught brother, Jeremy, to the Tampa Bay Times. "I think he'll be in that hole forever. ... I lost my brother. I lost everything."

Two other families nearby had to go into their homes and collect their things, as authorities determined their own homes had been compromised by the huge and growing sinkhole, said CBS News. It's uncertain if they will ever be allowed to return.

According to Fox News, the sinkhole remained undetected for so long because it was entirely underneath the house, although it is now continuing to expand.

Florida is largely built on sinkhole prone karst, according to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection,which notes that tests to determine how prone an area is to sinkholes are largely unfeasible at this time.


Here's CBS News on the Florida case: