Mar 2, 2013 / 7:12 am
Engineers worked gingerly to find out more about a slowly growing sinkhole that swallowed a Florida man in his bedroom, believing the entire house could eventually succumb to the unstable ground.
Jeff Bush, 37, was in his bedroom Thursday night when the earth opened and took him and everything else in his room. Five other people were in the house but managed to escape unharmed. Bush's brother jumped into the hole to try to help, but he had to be rescued himself by a sheriff's deputy.
Engineers were expected at the home to do more tests after sunrise Saturday. They spent the previous day on the property, taking soil samples and running various tests, while acknowledging that the entire lot was dangerous. No one was allowed in the home.
"I cannot tell you why it has not collapsed yet," Bill Bracken, the owner of an engineering company called to assess the sinkhole, said of the home. He described the earth below as a "very large, very fluid mass."
"This is not your typical sinkhole," said Hillsborough County administrator Mike Merrill. "This is a chasm. For that reason, we're being very deliberate."
Officials delicately addressed another sad reality: Bush was likely dead and the family wanted his body. Merrill, though, said they didn't want to jeopardize any more lives.
"They would like us to go in quickly and locate Mr. Bush," Merrill said.
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