Fla. Man Disappears Into Massive Sinkhole

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
March 1 2013 10:38 AM

Fla. Man Feared Dead After Disappearing Into Massive Sinkhole

721658
Sinkholes are common in Florida. This one, near Orlando, took out some trees, pipes, and a section of sidewalk.

Photo by Chris Livingston/Getty Images

A strange and frightening story out of (where else?) Florida is dominating cable news this morning: A man, at home on a Thursday night, has disappeared into a sinkhole that opened up under his bedroom.

The 100 foot-diameter hole in Brandon, a Tampa suburb, is still expanding, taking more and more of the house with it. It doesn't look like this story will have a happy ending: monitoring equipment lowered into the hole by Hillsborough County Fire Department officials found no signs of life.

Advertisement

Nevertheless, it seems as if crews are nearby to take whatever ending to the story they can get. Here's CNN, interviewing the man's brother (emphasis ours):

"I heard a loud crash, like a car coming through the house," the man's brother, Jeremy Bush, told CNN affiliate WFTS. "I heard my brother screaming and I ran back there and tried going inside his room, but my old lady turned the light on and all I seen was this big hole, a real big hole, and all I saw was his mattress." Bush frantically tried to rescue his brother, Jeff Bush, standing in the hole and digging at the rubble with a shovel until police arrived and pulled him out, saying the floor was still collapsing. "I thought I heard him holler for me to help him," the man tearfully told WFTS..."I know in my heart he's dead," Jeremy Bush said. "But I just want to be here for him, because I love him, he was my brother, man."

Five people, including Bush, escaped from the house.

As Slate explained back in 2010, sinkholes in North America open up in areas with limestone or dolomite bedrock. Florida and Kentucky are the most vulnerable to them. But even in Florida, large sinkholes that seemingly instantly swallow up a house (or person) are very rare.

Abby Ohlheiser is a Slate contributor.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

It Is Very, Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

The U.S. Is So, So Far Behind Europe on Clean Energy

Even if You Don’t Like Batman, You Might Like Gotham

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Medical Examiner

Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?  

A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.

A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

Nicolas Sarkozy, Thrice Married, Says Gay Marriage Humiliates the Family

  News & Politics
Over There
Sept. 22 2014 1:29 PM “That’s Called Jim Crow” Philip Gourevitch on America’s hypocritical interventions in Africa.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 22 2014 1:37 PM Subprime Loans Are Back! And believe it or not, that’s a good thing.
  Life
Dear Prudence
Sept. 22 2014 3:33 PM Killing With Kindness My in-laws want to throw me a get-well-from-cancer bash. There’s no way I can go.
  Double X
Doublex
Sept. 22 2014 4:06 PM No, Women’s Soccer Does Not Have a Domestic Violence Problem Or, why it is very, very stupid to compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice.
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 1:52 PM Tell Us What You Think About Slate Plus Help us improve our new membership program.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 22 2014 3:16 PM Watch the Best Part of Beyoncé and Jay Z’s On the Run Tour
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 12:14 PM Family Court Rules That You Can Serve Someone With Legal Papers Over Facebook
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 22 2014 4:34 PM Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.