One of the most shocking and tragic events of 2013 was the sudden disappearance of Jeff Bush, a 37-year-old landscaper from Seffner, Florida. Bush had been sleeping in his bed on the night of February 28, when a massive sinkhole opened up underneath his bedroom and swallowed him up.
His brother Jeremy, who was in another room, heard a loud crash and scream and ran to help, but he could not see or hear Jeff.
“We heard Jeff scream,” Rachel told ABC Action News at the time. “We ran down the hallway, I flicked the light on and we opened up the door and it’s all we’ve seen was a big old hole, and Jeff was gone.”
Jeremy jumped down into the hole to attempt to rescue his brother but had to be pulled to safety by a Hillsborough County deputy sheriff as the ground around him continued to cave in.
“The floor was still giving in and the dirt was still going down, but I didn’t care. I wanted to save my brother,” Jeremy told The Guardian. “But I just couldn’t do nothing.”
“I could swear I heard him hollering my name to help him.”
The rescue efforts were soon called off, as the sinkhole was deemed too unstable and dangerous to enter. Rescuers were unable to locate Bush’s body from the sinkhole, which swallowed bedroom furniture along with him.
The sinkhole that claimed Jeff’s life was not a typical one. Sinkholes are common in Florida, where the limestone bedrock is eroded by acidic groundwater, creating underground cavities that can collapse when the surface soil becomes too heavy or wet.
However, most sinkholes are small and gradual, and can be detected and repaired before they cause major damage. The sinkhole that took Jeff was large and sudden, and appeared without any warning signs.
It was estimated to be about 20 feet wide and 60 feet deep, and it expanded over time, forcing the evacuation of nearby homes.
The cause of the sinkhole remains unknown, but some experts have suggested that it could have been triggered by heavy rainfall, drought, or human activity such as pumping water or drilling.
The sinkhole also reopened in 2015, two years after the incident, creating a new hole in the same location. The property where Jeff’s house once stood was bought by Hillsborough County and turned into a memorial park for him and other sinkhole victims.
Jeff’s family and friends remember him as a kind and hardworking man who loved his five children and enjoyed fishing and camping. His tragic death serves as a reminder of the unpredictable and powerful forces of nature that can strike at any moment.
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